The Rockies are five games out in the NL West and two out in the Wild Card. Baseball Prospectus sets their playoff odds at a healthy 22-27%. Their main strength has been team OBP (second best in the league). The Rockies’ offense has dominated at Coors Field. They’ve also had some fine relief work from Manny Corpas, Jeremy Affeldt, and even Jorge Julio.
But to have a legitimate shot, the Rockies need to sort out their starting rotation. According to Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post, injuries to Jason Hirsh, Rodrigo Lopez, and Aaron Cook have decimated the starting staff. The current five consists of Jeff Francis, Josh Fogg, Ubaldo Jimenez, Elmer Dessens, and maybe rookie Franklin Morales. Recently-acquired Ramon Ortiz will stay in the pen for now. There doesn’t seem to be talk of using Taylor Buchholz in the rotation again.
While Jimenez was dominant yesterday against the Padres, control figures to remain a problem for him. Same deal with Morales. Cook should only miss three starts, and the Rockies desperately need him back. Lopez is out for the season and Hirsh’s contribution will be minimal. Fogg and Dessens are mostly just filler.
Since it’s August, the only real trade possibility is to acquire more filler. Renck specifically mentions Steve Trachsel and David Wells as pitchers on the radar. We’ve also seen the Rox linked to Josh Towers. Trachsel and Towers have already cleared waivers, and Wells probably will soon. As always, good starting pitching is hard to find.