Talk in the National League has largely centered on the hot start that the Atlanta Braves have gotten off to, but it’s worth noting that the Colorado Rockies have an identical 13-5 record through Sunday’s games. The Rockies hopes to maintain that early success took a blow Sunday afternoon, however, when they were forced to place right-hander Jhoulys Chacin on the disabled list. A lower back strain will force Chacin to miss at least his next two starts, but the initial fears were much worse when he was forced to leave his start early on Friday.
Chacin has been the best pitcher on the Rockies roster this season, having made four starts including taking the ball on Opening Day. He’s posted a 3-0 record, 1.46 ERA, and 0.892 WHIP through his first 24.2 IP on the year. Friday he’d pitched extremely well against the division-rival Arizona Diamondbacks, allowing just three hits over 6.1 scoreless innings. Chacin winced after throwing his 100th pitch of the night and would leave the game following a visit from manager Walt Weiss and the team’s trainers. Initial fears were that he’d strained an oblique, an injury that may have potentially taken him out of the rotation until the All Star Break, but the Rockies appear to be lucky that it will only be a handful of starts.
Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post suggests that the team will likely look to either right-hander Tyler Chatwood or left-hander Drew Pomeranz to fill the void while Chacin is sidelined. Both are decent options, though neither has had much success at the Major League level to date and their futures remain unclear. The two have followed similar paths, however, having both been acquired via trade (Chatwood from the Los Angeles Angels for Chris Iannetta; Pomeranz from the Cleveland Indians as part of the Ubaldo Jimenez haul) and having split their time since between the Major and Minor Leagues. Chatwood is still just 23 and has looked strong in his first three starts at Triple-A this season (1-0, 1.84 ERA, 10.4 K/9). Pomeranz, 24, has impressed as well in three starts of his own (2-0, 3.31 ERA, 11.6 K/9).