Diamondbacks 8, Rockies 5 and Rockies 7, Diamondbacks 2
by Mark T.R. Donohue
Another disheartening loss Saturday (Zach Day: not good), the much better news Sunday of an Aaron Cook complete game. What's the difference between these two groundball pitchers? Well, Day is the one with the semi-decent strikeout rate (5.73 per nine), but Cook's WHIP stands at 1.39 to Day's 2.45. Day has walked 32 guys in 47 IP (including his time in Washington), Cook 8 in 46.2. That's a pretty big difference.
Annoyingly, Danny Ardoin was 3 for 3 on Saturday. Ardoin hitting .240 in nearly a full season as a starter for Colorado is a complete embarrassment. 31-year-old catchers do not spontaneously generate extra base ability. Nor do they suddenly morph from career minor leaguers to legitimate major league starters. The choice between 25-year-old J.D. Closser and Ardoin should have been no choice at all. Closser's defense can get better. Ardoin isn't suddenly going to grow offensive value. Ever. Shame on you, Clint Hurdle. Now that Ardoin is a Proven Veteran, there's nothing to stop him from doing it again next season, either. Argh.
Other good signs from the weekend: Clint Barmes had multi-hit games Saturday and today. Matt Holliday continues to hit doubles where last year he would have singled. Cook only walked one guy in nine innings, bless him. The Rockies' hitters only struck out three times to Arizona's five. That's the stuff, guys. That's the stuff. Brad Hawpe, Garrett Atkins, and Luis Gonzalez are a better 4-6 combo than the Rockies have had all year. Cory Sullivan continues to hit better, but by no means should he be guaranteed the starting spot in center for next year.
Colorado is 57-85 with 20 games remaining. That means they're (probably) not going to lose 100, which is sort of an accomplishment considering their tiny payroll, litany of injuries, and serially inept field managing. If the current group was healthy and intact for the whole season, could the Rockies have pushed for .500 (and incidentally a division title)? Probably not. It's only due to injuries that many guys have gotten the chances to succeed that they have (Brian Fuentes, Byung-Hyun Kim, Gonzalez). Had injuries not given him a reason not to, Hurdle probably would have kept lobbing Jason Jennings and Jamey Wright out there to lose games all year. Ditto Aaron Miles. I don't think much of Clint Hurdle. Or Danny Ardoin.