It’s no secret that the 2017 Colorado Rockies, as a collective, are in a hitting slump. After Wednesday’s loss to the San Diego Padres, DJ LeMahieu, Carlos Gonzalez and Trevor Story — all of whom were expected to be big contributors this season — are hitting .171, .200 and .133 respectively.
As LeMahieu told us after the game, “The pitching’s done great. That’s the only reason we’re 6-4 right now is the pitching.”
And he’s right. Not only that, the offensive woes can’t be blamed on the Rockies not being at full strength. The “fill ins” Mark Reynolds, Gerardo Parra and even Dustin Garneau have been very good with their bats while the regular “bombers” have been quiet.
The only player expected to perform at an All-Star level who has is third baseman Nolan Arenado. And he is confident that his teammates are about to join him in that endeavor.
“As an offense we haven’t got going yet the way we know we can. We know we’re not hitting the way we know we can. So it’s kinda frustrating but at the same time we’ve won,” he says. “We’re happy that we’re winning, and we know we haven’t even gotten close to what we know we can do. We’re winning ballgames and are nowhere near what we can do.”
One of the guys we know can do a lot more than he has so far is Charlie Blackmon, who appears to be looking more like himself lately. He hit one of the three necessary solo home runs to beat the Padres 3-2 on Tuesday and collected two-thirds of the Rockies hits yesterday afternoon in the 6-0 loss.
“I don’t think there is a particular reason [why I wasn’t and now am] I think I wasn’t seeing the ball very well early in the season,” he told BSN Denver. “We’ve just continued to play and make our adjustments and that’s just kind of how baseball goes.”
Soft-tosser Jered Weaver may have taken the mound at the most inopportune time for the Rockies. As much as the boys in purple suggest they aren’t “pressing” it’s only human nature to try to do more when you are achieving less, and that can just make matters worse.
“It’s easy to try and do too much against someone that’s not throwing that hard,” Blackmon continued. “And that’s what he wants you to do. He wants you to over swing at pitches that aren’t good pitches to hit, and we did that a lot tonight. He made some good pitches. I took some pitches I should have swung and swung at some pitches I shouldn’t have swung at. So he got me, too. But luckily we threw the ball well enough to still get a win.”
While that was, of course, just one game, it is indicative of the problems the Rockies have had at the plate this season. It’s why they hit 14 pop flies yesterday and scored only via the solo home run the day before. It would be an oversimplification to say that everyone is trying to hit a grand slam on every swing, but Colorado hitters are very aware that they aren’t holding up their end of the bargain and that needs to change.
Carlos Gonzalez agrees.
“We gotta get going,” he says. “It’s kind of hard for the pitchers when we don’t score runs. They’ve been giving us a chance since day one. We’re making a lot of mistakes, swinging at pitches out of the zone, hitting a lot of fly balls, not [being able to]put an inning together.”
It’s important to remember not to overanalyze so early in the year, though. “Everything’s magnified the first week” says LeMahieu. “I’m sure [we’ve] gone through stretches like this before, it’s just magnified the first week. I don’t think there’s any doubt we’ll start clicking. We haven’t done it yet. We’ve had glimpses here and there. Hitting’s contagious one way or the other, so hopefully we get a couple of guys hot and the rest of the team heats up.”
The word of the day is “confidence.” And the Rockies still have plenty of it.
“We’re in a good spot record wise, we just need to step it up offensively and we’ll be just fine,” LeMahieu continued. “We’ve got a lot of talent in this room. We just gotta play better, I don’t think any of us are panicking at all.”
Trevor Story, arguably the biggest source of consternation from those outside the team, looks as … again, confident … as his words suggest: “It’s only the first week of the season. We’ve got 150 games to go. I’m not too down on myself. I’m just coming to work everyday and I’m just going to work myself out of it.”
The longest tenured Colorado Rockie and one of the best leaders the club has had in a while says his guys are going to be just fine heading into a 10-game road trip that will see them take on the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers.
“Everybody is good here, I trust in my team, I trust in my teammates. I think we’re going to step up,” Gonzalez said.
And how do they go about doing that?
“We’re a good team. You just gotta shake it off and show up the next day and do a better job.”
And it just so happens that the next day is today.