COWBOY ARCHIVES
HELTON STILL A HIT

LOPES BECAME KEMP'S HELPING HAND
YOUNG TACKLES OLD-TIMER ROLE

MCMORRIS WAS STABILITY IN ROCKIES BEGINNING

ROCKIES ARMED FOR THE FUTURE

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SO MUCH FOR THE PLAN

The Rockies short-term plan came unraveled.

The long-term plan, however, remains.

And the time is nearing where the Rockies have to make a mid-season adjustment.

Coming into the season, the Rockies opportunity to contend in the NL West rested on Jhoulys Chacin and Drew Pomeranz, two members of the season opening rotation, to establish themselves at the top of the rotation in the opening weeks of the season.

The plan, however, hasn’t worked out.

Chacin finally had to admit he was having shoulder problems, which explains why his control deserted him in the second half last year and his attempts to start in April of this year. He’s now on the disabled list, trying to rebuild shoulder strength, waiting for clearance to play catch.

Pomeranz did open the season in the rotation, and did pitch okay, but the Rockies see him as much more than an okay pitcher, and he has since been sent to Triple-A Colorado Springs with the mandate to clean up his mechanics.

Oh, the Rockies have to be encouraged by the efforts of Juan Nicasio, who has had mixed results on the mound, but has been a major feel good story in that he has returned from being hit in the forehead last August by a line drive that resulted in a fractured C-2 vertebrae in his neck.

But little else has gone right.

Jeremy Guthrie wasn’t added with the idea he would be a No. 1 starter. The Rockies wanted him because he has proven to be durable and would bring a veteran confidence to his role. He started Opening Day because of his experience, not expectations. The idea was he would slip to the backend of the rotation.

Jamie Moyer wasn’t signed with the idea he could carry a heavy workload. The fact that at 49, after missing an entire season because of Tommy John surgery, he was even able to be in a rotation was a fascinating story. The Rockies, however, had to figure his time was temporary, until Jorge De La Rosa showed he has recovered enough from last year’s Tommy John operation to return to the active roster or one of the young guys pushed his way to the big leagues.

And De La Rosa has a setback from the optimistic hope the Rockies had that he would be ready to rejoin the active roster by June 1. He suffered a ``minor’’ setback in his initial rehab assignment, and began a second minor-league tour last weekend, which not has him on a schedule that could result in his return around July 1.

What would seem to be looming for the Rockies in the near future is a full-fledged youth movement in the rotation.

Alex White, Christian Friedrich and Nicasio already are in the rotation. Pomeranz should be back in the next couple of weeks, and De La Rosa is a month or so away. Pomeranz still hasn’t made the desired adjustments and is lacking expected velocity, but he is 2-2 with a 2.20 ERA in four starts, walking only two while striking out 20 in 19 2/3 innings.

Also looming at Triple-A Colorado Springs are Guillermo Moscoso, who has been impressive since his two-start struggle with the Rockies earlier this season. In his last four starts he is 2-0 with a 2.52 ERA, striking out 20 and walking only four in 25 innings.

Tyler Chatwood suffered a setback with a forearm injury after his third start for the SkySox, and returned on Monday, allowing eight runs, seven earned, in 3 1/3 innings at Fresno.

With De La Rosa coming back from the elbow surgery, and the inexperience of White, Friedrich, Nicasio and Pomeranz, the Rockies would have to deal with inconsistency, but at least they could get a better read on the future. They could see how the young pitchers respond to the big-league challenge, and where they fit long-term.

The possible failures will give a good feel for their potential to succeed by seeing how the young pitchers handle the challenges. Do they become intimidated or do they accept the challenge, like a young Tom Glavine did when he broke in with Atlanta. A career that will land Glavine in the Hall of Fame began with Glavine going 9-21 in his first 33 starts, including 7-17 in his first full season, 1988. Over the next 19 seasons, Glavine was 294-178 with five 20-win seasons before going 2-4 in 13 starts in his finale, 2008.

HEATING UP

Left-handed reliever Rex Brothers, considered the Rockies closer of the future, is regrouping at Triple-A Colorado Springs, and the results have been positive. In three appearances he has 12 strikeouts while walking three in five innings. He gave up a run in his first appearance, but none in the last two.

Chris Nelson has begun his medical rehab assignment at Triple-A Colorado Springs. Coming back from a nagging wrist injury, Nelson hit .233 in his first eight games with one extra-base hit, a double, and nine strikeouts. He did not draw a walk.

GOING DEEP

In losing 7-5 at Cincinnati on Sunday, the Rockies lost for the third time in franchise history when they hit at least five home runs. They are 20-3 all-time in games with five or more home runs. They also are 7-26 in games in which they have allowed five or more home runs.

They are 2-2 against Cincinnati, 1-1 against San Diego, 1-2 against St. Louis and Washington, 1-3 against the Dodgers, and 1-4 against San Francisco.

The last two times a team has hit five home runs and lost has involved the Rockies and Cincinnati. The Reds won on Sunday. The Rockies won at Coors Field Sept. 10 last season.

All-time, teams hitting five or more home runs in a game are 1,113-128.

Cleveland suffered a major-league-leading 13 of those losses, Detroit has 11 and Cincinnati has 10 losses. Arizona, Florida, Kansas City and Minnesota have never hit five home runs in a game and lost.