Sunday, August 14, 2011

Rock Solid Recap: I'm very happy for Jason Hammel

So many people have been quick to bail on Jason Hammel. Maybe rightfully so, maybe not. Time will tell for sure.

I can't deny that he's struggled (slight understatement) for six weeks, but I'm not one that's quick to abandon a solid performer. Hopefully you've noticed that about me over the past two seasons. I like to think I'm fair and critical when necessary, but I see no reason in running a guy into the ground that has been a huge positive for this team for the vast majority of his tenure.

No, he's not Ubaldo Jimenez or Jhoulys Chacin. Few are. To expect that from him would be sorely lacking in perspective, but sometimes I feel that's the standard he's held to. Jason's in that category of a back end rotation guy. Limited upside. His stuff won't scare anybody, but he battles. And for 2009, 2010 and early 2011, the Rockies 4th and 5th rotation spots were stronger than most because of Jason Hammel.

He's one of the guys on this team that I know has fight, and I know has personal and professional pride on the line every time he goes out there. When he struggles, he's harder on himself than anyone. We've seen that in his quotes and the way Troy Renck describes his demeanor. I know that's hard to imagine, because the drubbing his takes from Rockies fans on Twitter (likely elsewhere) is brutal, but he really does take it personal and is his own harshest critic.

To see him come out and pitch a baseball game like he Saturday night in St. Louis makes me feel really good for him. We needed it. He REALLY needed it.

Anyway, the bottom line here is I like to see him do well. Hopefully he can back it up with another strong outing and hopefully he start regaining some support from the masses. We need him.

Rockies 6, Cardinals 1 (boxscore)

Three positives

1. The Bullpen!: The Josh Roenicke experiment continues to go well. As in, still perfect. Here's a guy that quite frankly I didn't know the Rockies had acquired off waivers from Toronto until he made his debut. I know he's had cups of coffee before, but he literally came out nowhere for us and it's nice to see him taking advantage of the opportunity he's getting.

And then more good stuff from Matt Reynolds, Matt Belisle and Rafael Betancourt. Great night for the 'pen.

2. CarGo: He's getting locked in. With Tulo hitting well himself and Helton providing protection for him now, the offense could really start clicking on this nine-game home stand. Or it might not.

3. Eric Young: If it does, it'll be because Eric Young had more games like this one where he reaches base multiple times and comes around to score multiple times. With his speed, every time he reaches early in an inning, there's no reason for that to not become a run. Better execution and smarter baserunning on his part will get that done.

And less contact plays.

Final thought(s)

Jaime Garcia is a really good left-handed pitcher. The Rockies haven't owned many of those in recent years, but they've owned Garcia this season: 0-2, 8 1/3 IP, 17 H, 16 ER, 8 BB, 9 K.

Just another case of baseball being baseball.

PS: It's Sunday, and for some odd reason the Rockies are on Sunday Night Baseball. Amazing. But wouldn't you know it comes at probably the most embarrassing possible time for the Rockies to get national exposure on a Sunday. That's just their luck.