It's a good thing Todd Helton has decided to join our season already in progress, because the Rockies' starting pitching seems to be getting worse. There has been noise about a six-man rotation after the break, which sounds like a terrible idea to me. Why would you do anything to take the ball out of Jeff Francis's hands? I imagine the Rockies are hoping that one of the group of Chacon, Kennedy, and Jennings will benefit from the added rest, string two decent starts together, and be out of here before the 31st. It's no weirder than what Lou Piniella has been raving about recently.
Wednesday night: Shawn Chacon made his first start off the disabled list and got slapped around. Oscar Robles only managed one hit for the Dodgers, his low for the series. Helton was 2 for 5 as his slow, inevitable crawl to .300 continued. Cory Sullivan had a very nice day in the leadoff slot with three singles, although he was stranded each time. 4-6, Wilson-Atkins-Hawpe, had two hits apiece. The bottom of the lineup, though, was 1 for 10. Danny Ardoin is going to meet J.D. Closser going the other way soon, and Closser hasn't exactly been tearing it up. J.D.'s already 2 points higher in OPS, but when the figures you're talking about .665 and .663, that's nothing of which to be proud. David Cortes had another terrible outing and earned a demotion (second item).
Thursday: Joe Kennedy made the starts and got slapped around. The Rockies' best relievers, meaning Marcos Carvajal, Brian Fuentes, and Jay Witasick, joined by new/old acquisition Mike DeJean, were lights out for the last four innings, giving up a single hit and one walk among them. Helton had two jacks, Brad Hawpe one. Closser had a hit and a walk. The Rockies were a little more lucky than good, scoring eight runs on seven hits and two walks, but so what. Sullivan hit leadoff again and had a single. Fuentes was particularly on, striking out two of the three guys he faced.
So seriously, who is Oscar Robles? It's a question I think we all asked ourselves many times throughout the four-game series with the Dodgers. The 29-year-old, a second baseman by trade, is hitting .343/.403/.400 through 70 AB's with Los Angeles splitting time between short and third. You won't find his name in any of the prospect books because he's a career Mexican Leaguer. He joined the Dodgers two months ago. Robles, who swings left-handed, put up a .382/.473/.552 line last year for Mexico City, which means something. He may well be a better hitter than Cesar Izturis. Of course, there are a lot of pitchers who are better hitters than Cesar Izturis.