In their last eleven road games, the Rockies are 2-9. Colorado, a notoriously bad road team, emphasized improvement in that area this spring. At first, it seemed like they would be better away from Coors, but, recently, they’ve regressed back into their old ways. When they venture outside of Denver, they lose the ability to hit. It’s rather uncanny.
Despite hitting like the Lovely Ladies in the original Baseball Stars**, the Rockies have managed to stay in games because their starting pitching has been very good. Yesterday, Ubaldo Jimenez continued that trend by throwing an eight-inning complete game two-hitter. He surrendered three runs, all on one horrendous play by Dexter Fowler. Fowler made a terrible read, and, though it was a tough play, he probably should have caught it. I’m not even going to discuss the rest of what happened. To be honest, I don’t really have words for whatever it was that Dexter was doing. The point is, if Dex had been on his game, Ubaldo probably would’ve thrown eight shut-out innings and we’d all be singing his praises.
With that said, I don’t think Ubaldo has fully returned to form. I called out Dexter Fowler for not making the play on Braun’s triple, but it wouldn’t have been a problem if Jimenez hadn’t already put Carlos Gomez and Rickie Weeks on base with a walk and a hit by pitch. Still, his performance was definitely a step in the right direction. Also, it came out that Ubaldo has actually been dealing with injuries to his groin and hip flexor. Perhaps his recent woes have not been such a mystery after all.
I can understand why the New England Patriots are vague about their players’ injuries. After all, an injury is a weakness that can be exploited by the opposition. However, I see no point in using this strategy for baseball. It’s not like Ubaldo can hide something on the mound. If he isn’t right, big league hitters will know after about two pitches. It drives me insane that Jim Tracy and Bob Apodaca have been insistent that nothing was physically wrong with Ubaldo, and then they suddenly decided to inform us that he’s had problems with his legs since spring training.
When he heard that Ubaldo has actually had leg injuries, I bet Troy Renck’s head nearly exploded. I think he’s probably asked Tracy and Apodaca about Ubaldo’s health at least 100 times and every time they have sworn he was completely healthy. For some reason, they deemed it necessary to keep this a secret.
At this point, you can’t really trust what the team says about a player. For all we know, Ian Stewart might still be battling a knee injury. If I were Apodaca, I would want people to know that my star pitcher was struggling because his legs weren’t under him and not because I couldn’t figure out his mechanical issues. But, maybe that’s just me. Either way, the trust is gone. From now on, whenever a Rockie is struggling, we’ll have to wonder if he’s actually hurt.
**This is in no way a slight to women. Statistically, the Lovely Ladies were in fact awful hitters.