Colorado Rockies: Finger injuries and snow highlight opening weekend
On Friday, the Rockies lost a nail-biter and left the game worried about their starting pitcher's thumb cuticle. On Saturday, the Rockies won a nail-biter and left the game worried about their starting pitcher's blister. And while both games against the Arizona Diamondbacks were played in weather fit for a nostalgia-inducing MLB Opening Day commercial, Sunday's scheduled series-ender was like a slice of December. The snow-dictated postponement concluded a typical Colorado baseball weekend -- concerns about pitching and three different season's worth of weather.
It took fewer than three innings to tell staff ace Ubaldo Jimenez wasn't going to start this season the way he did 2010. Jimenez lacked control of his fastball and reportedly only hit 95 mph once in the game -- something he did with regularity every inning last year. He allowed six extra-base hits, including two home runs, and five earned runs.
After the game, we learned that Jimenez was battling a cut on his thumb cuticle, which the ball rubbed each time he released the ball. Jimenez will test the thumb with a bullpen session Tuesday or Wednesday to see if he can make his scheduled start Thursday in Pittsburgh. He is treating the cut with the obvious combo of moisturizing balm and pickle juice.
Jorge De La Rosa looked more like the Rockies' ace when he yielded only three hits and struck out five in 5 1/3 innings on Saturday night. He also added an RBI single before leaving the game with a blister on his middle finger. Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez and Seth Smith all helped seal the win with stellar defensive plays before Huston Street, who looked about as stable as a straw house, closed the game out.
De La Rosa insists that early season blisters are a recurring but minor problem in his career and he is not worried about missing his next start.
And then the snow came. No make-up date has been slated for yesterday's game.
From the "let's hope this isn't a trend" category, Tulowitzki is without a hit so far. In the other corner, Dexter Fowler, Seth Smith, Gonzalez, Chris Ianetta and newcomer Jose Lopez had impressive beginnings.
Lopez blasted a solo homer in the opener while flashing some leather in the field. Ianetta notched two doubles, two walks and three runs over the weekend to help alleviate some concerns about his tentative hold on the starting catcher job. He also stood tall and held on to the ball as the Diamonbacks' Justin Upton collided with him in the tenth inning on Friday, temporarily preserving a tie game.
The Rockies head to Los Angeles tomorrow for a two-game set against the Dodgers before hitting the road for seven games. Tulo will presumably get a hit at some point this season, but much is riding on the health of the fingers of the Rockies two best pitchers.
More from our Baseball archive: "Colorado Rockies: Top five storylines heading into the season."