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News » Colorado Rockies Inside Pitch 2009-04-20

Colorado Rockies Inside Pitch 2009-04-20

Colorado Rockies Inside Pitch 2009-04-20
Right-handers Aaron Cook and Ubaldo Jimenez are the top two starters in a rotation that began the season with question marks as far as depth. Both have been very spotty through three starts, including losses in a lost weekend at Los Angeles, where the Rockies were swept by the Dodgers.

Cook is 0-1 with a 10.22 ERA and twice has pitched four or fewer innings. Jimenez is 1-2 with a 6.00 ERA and in his past two starts has pitched a total of eight innings. Jimenez had to deal with cold, damp weather April 13 at Wrigley Field, where it was 36 degrees at game time. He allowed four hits, six walks and three runs in 3 2/3 innings and hit a batter.

Weather was not an issue Sunday at Los Angeles, where it was 91 degrees when the game began. Control was again the issue for Jimenez, who gave up seven hits and seven runs and four walks and hit a batter in 4 1/3 innings. True, three runs were charged to Jimenez when Matt Belisle relieved him and gave up a grand slam to Matt Kemp, but it was Jimenez who created that jam.

For all his brilliant stuff, Jimenez, 25, has shown the tendency to be inconsistent with his command, leading to costly walks and high pitch counts. But with Cook, 30, the problems are both lingering and alarming.

Cook possesses one of the better sinkers in the game, but just three of his 12 outs Saturday in a 9-5 loss at Los Angeles came on groundballs. He gave up two solo homers to Manny Ramirez and a three-run shot to Andre Ethier that gave the Dodgers a 5-0 lead. It was just the fifth time in his career Cook has yielded three homers in a game, and Ramirez became just the third player to homer twice in a game off Cook.

Troy Glaus did it on Sept. 11, 2005, at Coors Field for Arizona, and on June 11, 2006, Kemp homered twice off Cook at Coors Field.

Cook has pitched just 12 1/3 innings in three starts. He has registered 16 groundball outs, 14 flyball outs, six strikeouts and one out on a sacrifice bunt.

In the past four seasons, Cook has a ratio of 2.74 groundballs to flyballs, which ranks fourth in the majors. During that time, he gave up an average of .071 home runs per nine innings, second only to Arizona's Brandon Webb. He also ranks second in the majors with an average of 1.31 double plays per nine innings, trailing Chien-Ming Wang of the Yankees.

Cook won a career-high 16 games last year. He worked on his slider and changeup in spring training and throws a four-seam fastball, but Cook's sinker or two-seam fastball is his priority, a pitch he can throw by far the majority of the time when it's right. Usually it is, but not lately.

"The sinker is flat and not coming out of my hand right," Cook said. "I don't have any explosiveness. That doesn't mean velocity. It just means the ball having good rotation and going down in the zone."

DODGERS 14, ROCKIES 2: The Dodgers completed a three-game sweep Sunday by pounding the Rockies, breaking the game over with a seven-run fifth. The big hit was a grand slam by Matt Kemp, the first batter to face reliever Matt Belisle. Three of those runs were charged to Ubaldo Jimenez, who gave up seven hits and seven runs in 4 1/3 innings in his second straight ineffective start. Brad Hawpe and Chris Iannetta hit solo homers in the sixth.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 20, 2009

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