Colorado's offense is still having some difficulty finding second gear, but two home wins in a row against a good team (Atlanta) goes a long way towards making me feel like disaster has been averted. Ubaldo Jimenez was wild in the game yesterday, walking his opposite number Jair Jurrjens twice, but Jimenez avoided the big inning and the Rockies bullpen was stout. The result was a one-run win, usually Arizona's specialty but nothing to sneeze at at this early juncture. I still expect to see the Rockies exploding for a seven- or eight-run win one of these days and won't be completely at ease until that happens. But the difference between early last season, when the franchise was genuinely dysfunctional, and right now, where they just have some bats in a slump, is obvious. The Rockies have the middle relief corps of a team that expects to win ballgames, and lo and behold, they might just win some for that very reason.
It's funny how Clint Hurdle forms bullpen allegiances -- it's usually his habit to pitch whichever guy has the biggest name in high-leverage situations until such time as the guy melts down. Jorge Julio, Jose Mesa, LaTroy Hawkins, and their ilk aren't around this season which must be making it tough on Clint. Luis Vizcaino, this offseason's answer to "late-inning guy you've heard of before," is injured. So Clint has been going to Taylor Buchholz with encouraging frequency. I'm a fan of Buchholz (he's the only guy the Rockies got from Houston in the Jason Jennings trade with any meaningful positive value) and he's been quite good early this year.
The Rockies weren't particularly affected by it, but the early-season schedule this year made no sense. Why were teams playing one- and two-game series? That seems extremely wrong to me. Making the Braves and Nationals play a game last Sunday to serve as the second opener, then start three-game series in different towns the next day seems cruel and unusual. And also pointless -- why couldn't they just have played two more games in Washington? All of these extra opening days need to go. They should just have the one.