Nolan Arenado’s bat-spike Monday night in the Colorado Rockies’ 4-3 loss to the Detroit Tigers looked downright Grownskowski-esque — so forceful and violent you almost felt bad for the turf.
In the bottom of the ninth, Arenado blasted a 105 mph screamer to Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler. Kinsler snared it, robbing Arenado of a lead-off single. Two outs later, the game was over.
“I hit the ball hard, and I lined out,” Arenado said. “It was like, ‘Of course, I line out when we need to get something going.’ I was just angry.”
Frustration is mounting for the Rockies, who entering Tuesday night’s game were 11-14 in August and nursed a three-game lead in the National League Wild Card race. That’s due in large part to their recent struggles at the plate.
The Rockies have scored three runs or less 14 times in August. They’re batting .223 with runners in scoring position in that time. Colorado is sputtering down the home stretch of its season even though its pitchers, who’ve posted a 4.25 ERA this month, continue to perform.
The lack of punch at the plate caused some to wonder if Rockies manager Bud Black might rejigger his lineup. Black was asked Wednesday if he’s considered moving lead-off hitter Charlie Blackmon down a few spots. Blackmon, who’s first on the team in batting average (.340) and home runs (31), could conceivably drive in more runs if he was moved a spot or two down in the order. But Black said he won’t mess with Blackmon’s spot in the order.
“I think with Charlie, leading off, I think it gives us a dynamic bat starting the game. His on-base percentage, his power and maybe his comfort level of leading off, more than anything,” Black said. “Again, if Charlie hits third or fourth because of what we talked about with the power, then we have to make a decision about who hits first or second. Then you’ve got to remember those players take the most at-bats over the course of a game. You want to get guys with certain skills at the top of the order.”
Black sounds content to ride out the offensive drought without making any significant changes to the order. He pointed out that while his team been abysmal hitting with runners in scoring position this month, Colorado is still doing a nice of reaching base.
“We’re getting guys out there, which is what you want,” Black said. “We’re just not getting the hit at the proper time over the course of a lot of games this month.”
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