Many years ago, a reporter covering the Los Angeles Dodgers wrote about the struggles of pitcher Fernando Valenzuela and predicted that the Mexican pitcher would have a bad year. Valenzuela responded by throwing a rope around the reporter, pulling him close, and telling the scribe that he would be proved wrong.
Saunders was listening to the local ESPN radio affiliate on Wednesday when he heard ESPN.com’s Keith Law predict that the Rockies would go 53-109 this season. Law’s explanation, as Saunders described it, was that the Rockies’ starting pitching was so bad that it will eventually wear down the team’s decent bullpen.
Is the Rockies’ starting rotation going to sit there and take that abuse or prove Law wrong?
Does it have a choice?
Jhoulys Chacin was the Rockies’ opening-day starter and allowed one run in 6 1/3 innings against the Milwaukee Brewers. He handed a lead over to his “decent bullpen” only to come away with a no-decision. Chacin’s resume includes a 4.43 earned-run average from last season and an 8.44 mark after four starts in spring training. So, despite the Rockies losing in extra innings on Monday, Chacin has to be lauded for his performance.
On Tuesday, it was Jorge De La Rosa’s turn. He left the game after giving up four runs in 4 1/3 innings.
Wednesday’s starter, Juan Nicasio, came into the 2013 season lugging a 4.65 ERA that covered his two seasons in the league. He was 2-3 in 11 starts for the Rockies last season.
Even so, you had to figure that Nicasio had the advantage going into Wednesday’s contest. In his career against NL Central teams, Nicasio was 2-0 (five starts) with a 1.87 ERA. A tidy six-inning outing, in which he allowed only two runs in Wednesday’s 8-3 victory, kept him perfect against teams in that division.
After three games, Rockies starters are 1-0 with a 4.24 ERA. The team is 2-1. Jeff Francis and Jon Garland are scheduled to pitch for the Rockies on Friday and Saturday against the San Diego Padres, respectfully, so it’ll be interesting to see if they can continue the trend.
It’s still early in the season so the Rockies’ starting rotation still has plenty of time to fail — or prove that Law doesn’t know what he’s talking about.