Seriously, Kim's fabulous performance in Miami yesterday (6 2/3, nine strikeouts, 71 of 101 pitches thrown for strikes) is exactly the sign reluctant Rockies fans were waiting for that the club's early-season flirtation with relevance is something more than an April mirage. The Rockies haven't fielded a decent five-man rotation since 2000, and frankly, the current group of Kim, Aaron Cook, Josh Fogg, Jason Jennings, and Jeff Francis is vastly more likely to see sustained success than that year's crew of Pedro Astacio, Rolando Arrojo, Brian Bohanon, Kevin Jarvis, and Masato Yoshii. Vastly. What's more, the Rockies actually have rotation depth -- with Kim's recall, Miguel Asencio returns to Colorado Springs to keep sharp as a starter. Sun-Woo Kim pitched well in his last SkySox start too. If Josh Fogg craters -- and, well, he's Josh Fogg, it's a distinct possibility -- Colorado has two really nice fallback options. Go ahead and order those playoff tickets!
Rockies coaches are to be credited for the approach they took with BK's rehab, which placed an emphasis on the Korean sidearmer throwing strikes to the lower half of the zone. The Marlins' offense hardly provides for a neutral test case, but Kim has better stuff than any other Rockies starter and if he can consistently avoid walking batters, he'll improve upon his performance last year, which wasn't half bad. Wow, we have four good starters! I'm giddy. Not so Marlins skipper Joe Girardi, whose team lost three straight to Colorado despite being outscored in the series by only four runs. This Florida team is not as bad as their record -- their pitching, in particular, is surprisingly competent -- but with their complete lack of experience they face the possibility of a sustained death-spiral season if Girardi can't maintain order. With this many young, athletic players, their defense ought to be a lot better. They definitely can't afford to allow Miguel Cabrera's mind to wander off the game as the Rockies' TV announcers implied happened more than a few times during this series. George Frazier, in particular, was on a crusade against lackadaisical play this weekend, mentioning something he called the "5 P's," which stands for "Practice Preparation Prevents Poor Performance." You just don't get this kind of stuff from Jeff Huson.
Peculiar schedule this week, as the Rockies along with many other major league teams will play two two-game series. It's probably the fault of interleague play, which requires some odd scheduling contortions to be kept in the silly "pod" configuration MLB insists upon on. Personally, I don't see what would be so horrible about interleague series being evenly distributed throughout the season if we're going to have them at all. That would allow for the radical (read: "sensible") step of realigning so that the two leagues and all six divisions would have equal numbers of teams. In any event, Colorado has a tough haul the next two weeks, with two games in Atlanta, two at Coors against the hot Reds, their first trip to the new Busch Stadium in St. Louis, and home-and-home series against Houston. It'd be a good time for the offense to start scoring runs at home. (Wow, that sounds weird. But so does "first place on the first of May." Tingly.)