Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 6/12/12

The Rockies' rotation is in tatters.

The overall staff ERA is an unsightly 5.31 because of the starters' ineffectiveness. Their ERA is 6.17, which is historically bad. The highest ERA for the Rockies' starters is 6.19 in 1999, Jim Leyland's forgettable one season as the team's manager. That team lost 90 games, topped only by the 95 losses in 1993, the Rockies' initial season.

The Rockies will be trying to break a five-game losing streak when they open a series Tuesday against the A's. In the last five games, Rockies starters have pitched four innings or less four times. And the starters' ERA in those five games is 14.64 (19 2/3 innings, 32 earned runs).

Left-hander Christian Friedrich was shelled Sunday by the Angels, giving up 10 hits and nine runs, eight earned, in four innings. Yet that's the second-longest outing by a Rockies starter during the current five-game losing streak.

Jeremy Guthrie, who will start Tuesday, lasted 3 1/3 innings June 5, followed by three innings from Josh Outman on June 6, six innings from Alex White on June 8 and 3 1/3 innings in his return to the Rockies by Jeff Francis on June 9.

The Rockies are 8-26 when their starter throws fewer than six innings. Help might be on the way but not soon.

Francis was signed to fill the spot in the rotation occupied by Juan Nicasio (left knee strain). Nicasio could return late this month. Jorge De La Rosa has twice been pulled off rehab assignments as he works his way back from Tommy John surgery on June 3, 2011. He could be back before the All-Star break although the Rockies expect him to be inconsistent when he returns this year and more dependable in 2013.

Jhoulys Chacin is playing catch as he recovers from a nerve entrapment in a pectoral muscle. There's no telling when he'll be back because when he's ready to throw off a mound, Chacin will essentially have to go through the equivalent of spring training.

Guthrie, 33, has been a huge disappointment. And Francis, 31, was far from impressive Saturday in his first outing although the hope is he can be more competitive.

Neither Guthrie nor Francis is part of the Rockies' future. Left-hander Drew Pomeranz, 23, and Tyler Chatwood, 22, are, but both are at Triple-A Colorado Springs.

Pomeranz, whom the Rockies optioned May 11 after five starts, was sent down to try to improve his mechanics -- namely, get on top of the ball to increase his velocity. Chatwood began the season in the Rockies bullpen and made four relief appearances before being optioned April 17.

Pomeranz is 2-3 with a 1.80 ERA in six starts for Colorado Springs but has walked five in each of his last two starts, which totaled 10 1/3 innings. Chatwood is 0-2 with a 6.86 ERA in six starts. After missing 3 1/2 weeks because of biceps soreness, he returned May 28 and in three starts since coming back, Chatwood is 0-1 with an 8.75 ERA and seven walks and 21 hits allowed in 12 2/3 innings.

Manager Jim Tracy went to Colorado Springs last week and saw Chatwood pitch 3 1/3 innings before weather forced the game to be suspended.

"With Tyler, I still saw the fastball being sprayed around," Tracy said. "If you bring that to the big leagues and keep throwing it that way, you are going to go backward with the guy before going forward.

"In the case of Drew Pomeranz, we are working on cleaning up his delivery (to enhance his velocity). His last two starts he had (10) walks. What purpose would that serve to bring him up, knowing how guys we have here are getting hit with two-ball, one-strike counts? You think (Chatwood and Pomeranz) are going to get away with it? They are not."


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