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News » Colorado Rockies Inside Pitch 2009-04-17

Colorado Rockies Inside Pitch 2009-04-17

Colorado Rockies Inside Pitch 2009-04-17
Huston Street won out over Manuel Corpas in spring training competition to determine the Rockies' closer. But consecutive shaky outings by Street might result in manager Clint Hurdle making a change.

Hurdle said he would readdress the closer situation before the Rockies open a three-game weekend series at Los Angeles. Street suffered a loss Sunday, giving up a two-run homer to pinch hitter Matt Stairs that gave the Phillies a 7-5 victory. Then on Wednesday, he entered a game at Wrigley Field with a 5-1 lead and gave up a homer to Derrek Lee, the first batter he faced, followed by a walk and a bloop single. At that point, Hurdle brought in Jason Grilli, who rescued Street and preserved the Rockies' 5-2 win.

"It was time to put the game away," Hurdle said, explaining why he pulled Street.

Opposing batters are 8-for-15 this season against Street, who is 0-1 with a 13.50 ERA and in four games and has had only one scoreless outing. And this is only the second time in Street's career that he has allowed home runs in consecutive appearances. He allowed one in each of his first three games last year. Street has only allowed 20 home runs in 271 2/3 innings in the big leagues.

Meanwhile, Corpas, who has appeared in five games, has had only one bad outing, blowing a save Sunday when Chase Utley hit a game-tying, two-run homer in the eighth, one inning before Street was taken deep by Stairs.

Corpas is again looking like the formidable reliever who converted 18 of 19 save opportunities and compiled a 1.42 ERA in the final three months of 2007. That body of work enabled Corpas to begin the 2008 season as the Rockies' closer, but after coming into camp in poor shape and spending far too much time tinkering with his changeup rather than honing his sinker and slider, Corpas lost his closer's job to reliever Brian Fuentes after going 2-for-6 in save situations and allowing 10 runs in 12 innings in his first 11 appearances.

Ever since 2004, when Shawn Chacon was given the closer's role and stumbled (he went 1-9 with a 7.11 ERA, earned 35 saves but blew nine and had as many walks, 53, as strikeouts), Hurdle has been proactive when it comes to changing closers and going with a hot hand.

The Rockies are in the middle of a trip that includes three-game series at the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona, and they need to get off to a good start. Nothing is as deflating to a team as a closer unable to nail down wins, all of which suggests Corpas could be closing and Street could be pitching the eighth inning in a setup role when the Rockies play Friday.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: April 17, 2009

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