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As others deal, Tracy happy with Rox

As others deal, Tracy happy with Rox

NEW YORK -- One day before the non-waiver Trade Deadline and one day after the Giants added a three-time All-Star to their lineup, manager Jim Tracy is confident in the guys already in the Rockies' clubhouse.

Entering Thursday's doubleheader with the Mets, the Rox trailed the Giants by a half-game in the Wild Card standings.

"It doesn't affect me," Tracy said of the Giants' acquisition of Freddy Sanchez on Wednesday, two days after they picked up Ryan Garko from the Indians. "I'm not overly concerned with who gets what, because I like the players we have in this clubhouse an awful lot."

It's pretty quiet on the trade front for Colorado, which added right-handed setup man Rafael Betancourt from Cleveland last week. Betancourt has already pitched 1 2/3 perfect innings in his two appearances for the Rockies.

Colorado may look to add a left-hander in the bullpen to go along with converted starter Franklin Morales, but the Rockies don't want to add too much more to the payroll. The most likely target appears to be Baltimore's Mark Hendrickson, who is 4-0 with a 2.86 ERA in 23 relief appearances this season for the Orioles. A starter for much of his career, Hendrickson has a 3.28 career ERA coming out of the bullpen.

The improvement of the bullpen -- Monday night's loss notwithstanding -- has been central to the Rockies' success over the past two months. After compiling a 5.38 ERA in the season's first two months, the bullpen has lowered that number to 4.23 in June and July.

That's emblematic of the growth of the pitching staff as a whole. While Jason Marquis and Aaron Cook have been consistently solid at the top of the Rockies' rotation, Ubaldo Jimenez and Jorge De La Rosa have come into their own to round it out.

"We've pitched so well and so competitively," Tracy said. "And that's not to say we've won every game, but night after night, we've had chances to win."

Jimenez has lasted at least six innings in all 17 of his starts since the end of April. During that stretch, he has a 2.78 ERA.

De La Rosa -- the starter in Thursday's nightcap against the Mets -- has won his past six starts and eight of his past nine after an 0-6 start to the season. The fifth starter has been pitching like an ace in Tracy's words, and that adds a lot of depth to a starting staff that doesn't have a weak link.

"It means you have a chance to win every single day," Tracy said. "You know you're not going to win every single day, but because of where we are at this point in the season, you look along the lines and say to yourself that if three out of every five days we're winning games, you get to the latter part of September and you're going to be playing for something."

Tracy compared the Rockies' current position to when they were in the back of the pack in 2007, relying on a lot of help from teams in front of them come September. The math is a little simpler when the team is right near the top of the Wild Card standings.

And Colorado has reached that enviable position with its current roster -- one Tracy couldn't be happier with.

"I love to come to work with them every day," the manager said. "I don't like it; I love it. I can't wait to get here."

Tim Britton is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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