Results tagged ‘ Ian Stewart ’

Helton takes a rest on the edge of 2,000

Rockies first baseman Todd Helton had started all but three of the team’s first 35 games this season. So he took a well-deserve rest on Sunday.

Helton is presumably available for pinch-hit and defensive duty, so there’s a chance he’ll get the one hit he needs to each 2,000 for his career. But manager Clint Hurdle kept him out of the starting lineup.

Hurdle, Helton and the training staff stay in constant contact about how Helton feels, since he underwent back surgery at the end of last season. After a long streak in the lineup, Helton felt the need to step back on Sunday.

“You need to give him some breaks, and this is one he is embracing, because he has been full-throttle for a large volume of games,” Hurdle said.

Hurdle took his three games off during the early days of the season. But given the caution the team is taking, no one expected Helton to have played so much at this point.

“I’d say pleasantly surprised, but I hate to use the word surprised when it comes to Todd because he’s capable of so much with his mindset, his determination, his resiliency,” Hurdle said. “He’s playing more than I anticipated him being able to play and he’s playing at a high level.”

Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is batting third for the first time in his career, Garrett Atkins, after a hard work day Saturday to improve his hitting, is playing first base, and Dexter Fowler, who is having strikeout issues from the right side, is on the bench.

Rockies

CF Ryan Spilborghs

2B Clint Barmes

SS Troy Tulowitzki

RF Brad Hawpe

LF Matt Murton

1B Garrett Atkins

C Yorvit Torrealba

3B Ian Stewart

P Ubaldo Jimenez

Pirates

RF Delwyn Young

2B Freddy Sanchez

CF Nate McLouth

1B Adam LaRoche

C Robinzon Diaz

LF Brandon Moss

3B Andy LaRoche

SS Jack Wilson

P Zach Duke

Atkins becomes spot player

Rockies manager Clint Hurdle insisted that he’s not going to bury third baseman Garrett Atkins. But Saturday’s decision to start Ian Stewart at third base, on the heels of Stewart’s pinch-hitting for Atkins in the ninth inning Friday night, is a signal that Atkins’ playing time will be cut as he tries to work through a season-long slump.

“I’ve tried to find different ways to catch a fuse for him, and yesterday it was putting him in the cleanup spot based on a matchup and faith,” Hurdle said. “I had a nice conversation with him today, a very engaging and challenging conversation about what we’re going to do together, what we need to do for him, what he needs to do for himself to get him back in a spot in the lineup we’d like to have him in.

“But right now we’ve got to go out there the best way we can to win a ballgame. He understands that. I told him I’m not going to ice him, but I’m going to get him involved when I think it’s the right fit.”

This is a personal project for Hurdle, because the Rockies’ hitting coach, Don Baylor, is not with the club. According to Jack Etkin of insidetherockies.com, Baylor is being treated for pneumonia at a Denver-area hospital. 

Hurdle said the Rockies have tried everything, including the old, forget everything and just hit, approach. That didn’t work, so Hurdle is offering specific moves to help Atkins regain form and confidence.

Here are Saturday night’s lineups:

Rockies

Dexter Fowler                CF

Troy Tulowitzki               SS

Todd Helton                   1B

Brad Hawpe                   RF

Ryan Spilborghs             LF

Ian Stewart                    3B

Chris Iannetta                 C

Clint Barmes                 2B

Aaron Cook                    P

Pirates

Delwyn Young                RF

Freddy Sanchez             2B

Nate McLouth                CF

Adam LaRoche              1B

Brandon Moss                LF

Andy LaRoche                3B

Jason Jarmillo                  C

Jack Wilso                     SS

Ian Snell                          P

Go Pens! … Nothing wrong with Barmes

As I write, the Penguins are up on the Capitals, 4-0, in the second period of Game 7. How cool.

Good comment on yesterday’s blog: infielder Clint Barmes has been notably absent from the starting lineup, and he isn’t starting tonight, either. It would make some sense to have him at second as another left-handed bat against Astros lefty Mike Hampton. Plus, Barmes hasn’t been in the lineup since Friday, when he went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts against the Marlins.

Checked with Barmes today. He’s not injured and says he’s ready to play when needed.

A few factors keep Barmes out of the lineup:

– The Rockies are giving third baseman Garrett Atkins more time to overcome his almost season-long hitting slump. Manager Clint Hurdle said he gives a younger player abotu 100 at-bats and a player of Atkins’ experience about 150 at-bats to find his form.

– Stewart hit two home runs last night agianst the Astros. He also has a history of hitting lefties well.

“I want to see him against this left-hander, Mike [Hampton],” Hurdle said. “We know him a little bit, not that ‘Stew’ does. Just watching tape and historically, Mike gets outs. There’s no doubt he can get people out. His walks-to-strikeouts ratio is better against left-handers but the batting average is pretty similar, .284 to .281.

“‘Stew’ still has a pretty good history of hitting left-handed pitching. [Thursday starter Wandy] Rodriguez could present more of a challenge. He’s just off to a tremendous start this year, overall and especially against left-handed hitters. And I want to play off the momentum he was able to create and bring to the table yesterday.”

Here are both lineups:

Astros

Kazuo Matsui            2B

Michael Bourn           CF

Lance Berkman         1B

Carlos Lee                 LF

Miguel Tejada            SS

Hunter Pence            RF

Geoff Blum                3B

Humberto Quintero      C

Mike Hampton            P

Rockies

Dexter Fowler           CF

Troy Tulowitzki         SS

Todd Helton              1B

Ryan Spilborghs        LF

Brad Hawpe              RF

Garrett Atkins           3B

Chris Iannetta             C

Ian Stewart                2B

Jason Marquis             P

No hot seat, but still …

I’ve been asked on a number of radio shows recently about the jobsecurity of Rockies manager Clint Hurdle. It’s logical. After all, the D-backs fired Bob Melvin, and that team had a slightly better record than the Rockies. I said all along that it’s not the Rockies’ style to make such a quick change. None of my sources have said anything different. If there was heat, it was from the outside. A story in the Denver Post today confirms; ownership isn’t looking to make the big change.

Anyhow, here’s the issue: they’ve got to score to win. The Rockies’ pitching was supposed to be weak, yet the staff leads the National league with a 2.81 ERA in May. Their May record is 4-6 going into Tuesday night’s game against the Astros at Coors Field.

hHit and everyone stays employed. Or at least that’s the way it seems to me.

Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki will do his part tonight. The pain from the quadriceps strain he suffered Sunday is manageable, so he’s in the lineup. 

Here are tonight’s lineups:

Astros

Kazuo Matsui                   2B

Michael Bourn                  CF

Lance Berkman                1B

Carlos Lee                        LF

Miguel Tejada                   SS

Hunter Pence                   RF

Geoff Blum                       3B

Ivan Rodriguez                   C

Felipe Paulino                   P

Rockies

Dexter Fowler                  CF

Troy Tulowitzki                SS

Todd Helton                    1B

Brad Hawpe                    RF

Garrett Atkins                 3B

Seth Smith                     LF

Chris Iannetta                   C

Ian Stewart                     3B

Ubaldo Jimenez                P

Smith steps to the top

The Rockies’ lineup is much like the field in an automobile race. It seems one or two need to pull in for a pit stop to correct some problem with his offensive game. Friday night it’s center fielder Dexter Fowler. Also, the repairs for third baseman Garrett Atkins are going to take another day. He sat also on Thursday.

Fowler has not stolen a base since his modern rookie record five-steal game on April 27. He has scored just two runs and struck out 14 times in his last nine games.

Left fielder Seth Smith becomes the first player other than Fowler or Ryan Spilborghs to bat leadoff. Smith is second on the club with 13 walks. Smith and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki will bat ahead of Todd Helton (17 RBIs), Ryan Spilboghs (14 RBIs) and Brad Hawpe (18 RBIs).

“You’ve got the run producers at 3, 4 and 5, so I’m looking at somebody else to lead off who can get on base,” Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. “If you look at the on-base percentages (.426), his is as good as anybody we’ve got on the club.”

Here are the lineups:

Marlins

Emilio Bonafacio           3B

Chris Coghlan               2B

Hanley Ramirez            SS

Jorge Cantu                  1B

John Baker                     C

Cody Ross                   RF

Jeremy Hermida           LF

Alfredo Amezaga          CF

Ricky Nolasco               P

Rockies

Seth Smith                  LF

Troy Tulowitzki             SS

Todd Helton                 1B

Ryan Spilborghs          CF

Brad Hawpe                 RF

Chris Iannetta                C

Ian Stewart                  3B

Clint Barmes               2B

Jason Hammel             P

A great day to relax, and debate

Garrett Atkins started and batted cleanup in every game this season, until Wednesday afternoon. Dude had to rest at some point. But let’s debate the timing:

Position A — Atkins didn’t come through in a couple of key situations in Tuesday night’s 4-3 loss. Maybe a day off will do him good.

Position B — The best time to sit a player is after he succeeds. Let him sit with a smile. You don’t force him to dwell on failure. Atkins, after all, has a hit in his last give games and is batting .324 at home. If he doesn’t play today, it’ll be two days to stew over Tuesday’s disappointment.

Here is today’s lineup:

Padres

Jody Gerut                CF

Luis Rodirguez          SS

Brian Giles                RF

Adrian Gonzalez        1B

Chase Headley          LF

Kevin Kouzmanoff      3B

Edgar Gonzalez         2B

Henry Blanco              C

Kevin Correia              P

Rockies

Dexter Fowler           CF

Seth Smith               LF

Ryan Spilborghs       RF

Todd Helton             1B

Ian Stewart              3B

Troy Tulowitzki         SS

Clint Barmes            2B

Chris Iannetta            C

Aaron Cook              P

– OK, got note from Noah Huntsman saying my accidental omission of Brad Hawpe from the lineup the other night angered the gods and, boom, Hawpe took a throw to the neck. Oops. Well, the saving grace is Brad Hawpe isn’t blaming me. Sorry.

– Today was a career first. As I entered the park, three fans stopped me. One was carrying writer Tony DeMarco’s remarkable book, Tales from the Colorado Rockies, and two others wree carrying baseball bats. All wanted me to sign. I truly appreciated it. The value of those items may depreciate on the count of the signature, but still …

– Finally, please take a look at my piece on Rockies rookie phenom Dexter Fowler. It was fun to write.

Snow, snow, gone away

Is Troy Tulowitzki simply a poor April hitter or is something seriously wrong? Can someone other than Jason Marquis consistently pitch the Rockies deep into games? What will the press meal be at Coors Field? These are a sports writer’s thoughts in the middle of the night. So I woke up at 2:25 a.m. and saw snow covering my yard and car. Woke up at a normal human hour and saw more flakes falling.

Yet, this is Denver. Each time I went outside, I needed to bundle a little less. We have baseball tonight. All questions will be answered eventually.

And the meal was Mexican.

Here are the lineups for Rockies vs. Padres:

Padres

Jody Gerut               CF

David Eckstein         2B

Brian Giles              RF

Adrian Gonzalez      1B

Chase Headley        LF

Kevin Kouzmanoff    3B

Nick Hundley            C

Luis Rodriguez        SS

Chris Young             P

Rockies

Dexter Fowler         CF

Ryan Spilborghs     LF

Todd Helton           1B

Garrett Atkins        3B

Ian Stewart            2B

Clint Barmes         SS

Chris Iannetta         C

Jason Hammel       P 

Go deep, save the planet

The Rockies were on the road on Earth Day, but they’re doing their part even if the schedule maker didn’t. Tonight begins the Rockies’ “20 Games of Green.” They’ll be reminding folks that we need to take care of our planet during three homestands — Tonight through Wednesday, July 6-12 and Sept. 1-7. There are all kinds of ticket packages, contests incentives and environment-driven events. Those can be seen at www.coloradorockies.com/green.

But the players can do their part while scoring runs. During those 20 games, one tree will be planted in the Denver area for each home run.

So next time some stat head criticizes a player for providing more power at home than on the road, he can answer that he’s doing it for our future.

The Rockies’ first step toward correcting the mess we’ve made of this big blue marble is trying to beat the big, bad Dodgers. Here are the lineups:

Dodgers

Rafael Furcal              SS

Orlando Hudson          2B

Manny Ramirez           LF

Andre Ethier                RF

James Loney              1B

Matt Kemp                  CF

Casey Blake               3B

Brad Ausmus               C

Eric Stults                    P

Rockies

Dexter Fowler              CF

Ryan Spilborghs          LF

Todd Helton                1B

Garrett Atkins             3B

Brad Hawpe                RF

Troy Tulowitzki            SS

Ian Stewart                 2B

Chirs Iannetta               C

Aaron Cook                 P

Jackie Robinson Day, and the goings on of the Rox

Today is 62nd anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking baseball’s color barrier. Everyone is wearing No. 42. I know I would if I had a uniform. But let’s all scribble a “42” in our scorecards today.

This also is one of those rare days where something going on miles away is almost as important as the Rockies-Cubs game today. Triple-A Colorado Springs faces Reno in a few minutes — a special 11:05 a.m. MT start time.

Left-hander Franklin Morales, who held the D-backs to one run and struck out six in six innings to win for the Rockes last week, is starting for the Sky Sox. The Rockies sent him down because they don’t need a fifth starter until April 21. But they also didn’t promise they would bring him back, and they traded for Rays right-hander Jason Hammel. The club also said Hammel is a candidate for rotation work. Hammel had bright spots but oerall a so-so debut, giving up two runs with five hits and two walks in a 2 2/3-inning performance against the Phillies.

Anyhow, to keep up with the Sky Sox’s game, click here to go to MiLB.com audio. You can click on the Sky Sox or the Reno Aces’ broadcast. There have been technical difficulties with the Sky Sox’s streaming broadcast, so the Reno feed is an option.

In Chicago, the Rockies are going with left-handed hitters high in the oder, although that’s not a guarantee of success against Cubs righty Rich Harden. Last year, left-handed batters hit .200 against Harden. Righties did worse, .167.

It’s another tough pitcher for the Rockies, who faced a strong Phillies bullpen for the last two games of a three-game set at Coors and were vanquished by the Cubs’ Ted Lilly on Monday.

“This is the part of the game you embrace, the matchups,” Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. “It doesn’t get any easier. There’s never an off-day when you’re playing. We need to show up and continue to do all the things we did in Spring Training and have trust in all those things that we did.”

Also, right fielder Brad Hawpe, who left Monday’s game with tightness in a left hamstring that gave him problems during Spring Training, is not in the lineup. Ian Stewart will make his first career start in right field.

Here are the lineups:

Rockies

Ryan Spilborghs               CF

Seth Smith                      LF

Todd Helton                     1B

Garrett Atkins                  3B

Ian Stewart                      RF

Troy Tulowitzki                SS

Chris Iannetta                   C

Clint Barmes                   2B

Jason Marquis                  P

Cubs

Alfonso Soriano               LF

Ryan Theriot                   SS

Kosuke Fukudome          RF

Derrek Lee                     1B

Mike Fontenot                3B

Reed Johnson                CF

Geovany Soto                  C

Aaron Miles                   2B

Rich Harden                    P

Another starter with history … and Helton sits again

The Rockies lost on Saturday night again to Phillies pitcher Brett Myers, who is 5-0 at Coors Field. Sunday, the Phils turn to another righty who is tough on the Rockies — Chan Ho Park, who is 5-2 in 17 games at Coors Field.

Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said Park, who has had some tough times in recent years, regained some of his form last year with the Dodgers (4-4, 3.40 ERA in 54 games, five starts).

“He really sharpened up last year, in that role of pitching one time through the lineup, and now they’re expanding it,” Hurdle said. “He’s gotten to a good place. He’s worked very hard. We know how diligent he is. We know how focused he is.

“He’s going to spin the ball. He’s going to throw the slider. One thing we feel he’s not going to pound us inside. He’ll come in for effect. I don’t think he’s so much a fastball pitcher. He’s a finesse pitcher who pitches off his fastball.”

Also, for the second time this season, the Rockies kept first baseman Todd Helton out of the linmeup for a day game after a night game. Hurdle said he’d do that, so it’s not a surprise. It’s not fun for Helton, who would put himself in the lineup every day, but Hurdle and the Rockies are adhering to a plan to keep Helton healthy throughout the season.

Here are the lineups:

Rockies

Dexter Fowler             CF

Ryan Spilborghs         LF

Brad Hawpe               RF

Garrett Atkins            1B

Ian Stewart                3B

Troy Tulowitzki           SS

Chris Iannetta              C

Clint Barmes             2B     

Aaron Cook                P

Phillies

Jimmy Rollins           SS

Shane Victorino        CF

Chase Utley             2B

Ryan Howard           1B

Jayson Werth          RF

Raul Ibanez             LF

Pedro Feliz             3B

Chris Coste              C

Chan Ho Park           P

 

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