The Colorado Rockies aren't historically known for their pitchers. Until recently, the two best known pitchers for the Rockies were Mike Hampton and Denny Neagle, both recipients of huge contracts that they were not worthy of in the first place. Somewhat lower on totem pole is Jason Jennings, who was the centerpiece of a trade to Houston in 2006.
With the idea of Coors Canaveral still floating around the minds of baseball fans, many things have changed at Coors Field. In 2002, the Rockies introduced a humidor to help maintain baseball standards at sea level. Even though the humidor has made Coors Field a lesser hitters. park, it is still a very good hitters' park. In order to succeed there, a pitcher still needs to be legitimately good.
So, with the team at 36-33, who are the Rockies top five pitchers so far this season?
5. Jason Hammel
The Rockies acquired Jason Hammel before the start of the 2009 season for minor league pitcher Aneury Rodriguez. Hammel went on to become the "King of the Road," having more success on the road than at home (7-5, 3.13 ERA on the road; 3-3, 5.73 ERA at home). Twenty-ten has been the opposite, as he's 5-1 with a 2.80 ERA at Coors Field. Since June 1, Hammel has allowed just one run in 29 1/3 innings.
4. Ubaldo Jimenez
Ubaldo Jimenez has 13 wins, leading the majors. Four others are tied for second with 10.
3. Ubaldo Jimenez
Ubaldo Jimenez has a 1.15 ERA. He had it under 1.00 at one point, but even gods have moments of weakness.
2. Ubaldo Jimenez
Ubaldo Jimenez's adjusted ERA+, a rate stat that places 100 as average, leads the league at 391. St. Louis' Jaime Garcia is second at 256.
1. Ubaldo Jimenez
Ubaldo Jimenez threw a no-hitter against the Atlanta Braves in April.
One cannot underestimate the importance of Ubaldo Jimenez to the Rockies. Without him pitching like he has, this team would be struggling even harder to even make it to a .500 record. With him they have moved above the .500 point, but with the rest of the rotation it's always a shaky proposition that the Rockies will come away with a win.
The Rockies will need Jimenez and the rest of the staff to stay on top of things. Jorge De La Rosa's return to the rotation in July should help the rotation, and Huston Street's return to the bullpen will help move Manuel Corpas out of the closer's position (he recently allowed eight runs over the week).
A strong rotation and a jolt to the offense will send the Rockies to the postseason for a second straight year (no promises in either happening).