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Rockies off to a Fast Start without Ubaldo or Cargo

Posted By Colin Teskey On May 4 2011 @ 4:35 pm In Colorado Rockies | No Comments

 I’m happy to finally get the chance to cover such an exciting team like the Colorado Rockies! I began to follow the team closely during their remarkable run to the World Series as a wildcard team in 2007 and followed them closely last September.

The Rockies splashed on to the scene last year featuring three outstanding young superstars in Ubaldo Jimenez, Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki. Last year these three burst onto the scene with Ubaldo’s impressive 16-2 start, Cargo competing for the Triple Crown (and eventually winning the batting title) and Troy Tulowitzki’s amazing September (15 HR and 40 RBI).

The Rockies have positioned themselves atop the N.L West standings and are turning heads around the league. The Rockies17-9 record this season is incredible considering inconsistent play from ace Ubaldo Jimenez (0-2 in 4 starts this season) and Carlos Gonzalez (1 HR & 14 RBI). Following a loss to the Pirates this weekend, manager Jim Tracy expressed concerns about the ace of his pitching staff and challenged Jimenez to be more consistent.

 As a Rockies fan, you have to be optimistic as this team has serious talent. Imagine how lethal this team could be when guys like Jimenez and Gonzalez finally hit their stride. Here’s a closer look at just how scary they could be.

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 Through 26 games Carlos Gonzalez has 1 HR and 14 RBI, a Batting Average of .233 with 22 strikeouts. Glancing at these numbers would send fantasy owners who gambled on “Cargo” reeling. Whether you are a fantasy owner, an actual owner or just a fan hang onto Carlos Gonzalez because his best baseball is ahead of him. It is silly to write off a player of Cargo’s caliber after the first month of the season. Fans are worried about his totals thus far in the season (projects to finish the year with 6 HR, 84 RBI, .231 BA). Rockies fans should take heed that patience is a virtue with Gonzalez. Last April, Cargo’s numbers were somewhat similar (4 HR, 17 RBI).  ”Cargo” played his best Baseball in the heart of summer when he homered 17 times, drove in 55 RBI and had an average of .317 for July and August. In 26 games (136 more to go) he has poroven merely that he is a slow starter.

The Rockies are first in their division and one of the top teams in the National league without stellar play from Carlos Gonzalez. Simply mind boggling. The fast start for the Rockies should lift some pressure off of Cargo’s shoulders and allow him to put up better numbers as the season goes on.

[2] As for Ubaldo Jimenez, the ace hurler has been suffering from a case of 2010 nostalgia.  Ubaldo was one of the most dominant pitchers through the first four months of the season (16-2 over that span in 2010). His impressive 2010  start made him an intimidating force every time he took the mound, not to mention an All-Star starter and a Cy Young candidate. Natrually Ubaldo cooled down in August and September. Jimenez proved to be human and finished with a disappointing 3 wins and 6 losses. The Jimenez from late 2010 seems to have carried  over this season (0-2 in 4 starts with a horrific 7.20 ERA).  Manager Jim Tracy was especially critical of Jimenez following his poor performance against the Pirates stating “we pitched poorly and Ubaldo struggled with his command as evidence throwing 90 pitches through the first 4 innings and getting deep in counts”.   Later in the press conference Tracy continued to lament over the fact that his team is surprisingly 17-9 when their ace hasn’t pitched into the 6th inning yet this season.

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The Rockies go into a rubber match in Arizona tonight sending Jason Hammel to the mound(3-1 3.23 ERA). Hammel has been a pleasant surprise thus far for the Rockies, and will look to tie Jorge De La Rosa for the team lead in Wins with four in tonights game. A Rockies win would mean continued success for Dexter Fowler, Seth Smith, Todd Helton and the always consistent Troy Tulowitzki who have been carrying the team so far.

If Gonzalez starts producing like he did last July and August then this Rockies batting order will look frightening to opposing pitchers. Same goes for the pitching as they hope to have a one-two punch of Jimenez and De La Rosa. Ubaldo has struggled so far this season with his command but if he can shake off the rust now and put April behind him, the Rockies will be absolutely lethal.  The Rockies have proven they can get it done without Ubaldo and Cargo but not over the long haul. I suspect both will snap out of their respective slumps and help this team compete for a World Series.

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