Same old Rockslament gets old

May 15, 2007 1:55 AM

Not that six games out in the NL West roughly a quarter of the way through 162 is reason to panic, but the Rockies looks painfully similar.

Same as it ever was should be the fans lament. Colorado (8-13) still can’t win on the road, still can’t hit away from Coors (.249), still can’t win within the division (11-14) and is still a laughing stock in the National League.

Now for the good news. The Vegas books have not taken the Rockies off the board!

The Rockies are anywhere from 100/1 to 150/1 to win the World Series. They are 20/1 to win the NL West, which they very much could if the current situation reverses itself. Right now, it’s not. The Rocks have dropped 4-of-7 and last Friday’s 9-4 loss at home to San Francisco was a dagger. How so? Well, it was to a division team and after blowing a 3-0 lead through six innings.

And let’s discuss this pitching staff. Houston acquisition Jason Hirsh has a 4.10 ERA and that leads the team among starting pitchers. No starting pitcher has won more than two games, including the preseason ace Jeff Francis. The 26-year-old lefty was billed as the best pitcher in the Colorado system several years ago. He’s 2-4 with a 5-plus ERA this season and overall a disappointment.

The news is brightier offensively. Veteran first baseman and perennial Gold Glove winner Todd Helton led the majors in batting at .391 through Friday’s games. Young slugging outfielder Matt Holliday tops the majors with 54 hits and is having a monster season at .367 with 6 HR and 27 RBI in the first 36 games. But H2 account for more than half the team’s homers and one-third of the runs.

Closer Brian Fuentes was 9-for-10 in save opportunities through Friday with a very respectable 2.65 ERA, but nearly a third of the pitching staff has an ERA of 7.98 or higher.

The team needs a spark, having been a perennial loser since entering the NL in 1993. Clint Hurdle is a good baseman man and quality guy, but maybe some new managerial blood is needed. Hot blood like former Rockies catcher Joe Girardi, who lit a fire under the Florida Marlins last year before running into problems with ownership.

If Colorado is ever going to turn its ship around, this week is prime cut. Six straight home games — three each against Arizona and woeful Kansas City. Anything worse than 4-2 and get out those whoopee cushions.