Results tagged ‘ Michael Cuddyer ’

East Coast a major pull for Cuddyer

Michael Cuddyer wore the special blue and orange jersey and cap while participating in the Chevrolet Home Run Derby during All-Star facilities at Citi Field in 2013. Now he'll wear official New York Mets blue and orange.

Michael Cuddyer wore the special blue and orange jersey and cap while participating in the Chevrolet Home Run Derby during All-Star facilities at Citi Field in 2013. Now he’ll wear official New York Mets blue and orange.

Michael Cuddyer understood that whether he re-signed with the Rockies or took a free-agent offer from the Mets, he would be a part of a team wanting to make the immediate jump from also-ran in 2014 to contender in 2015. In the end, he preferred to make that leap on the East Coast.

It’s likely Cuddyer left money on the table with the decision. Had he accepted the Rockies’ qualifying offer, he’d have been paid $15.3 million for 2015 with another shot at free agency at season’s end. With the Mets, he’ll get $22 million over two years, including $8.5 million in 2015.

“I think you don’t see that often in sports, but this wasn’t about the money,” Cuddyer said. “That shows the importance I placed on playing for an organization like the Mets and coming back to the East Coast, which is more like home. Looking at who the Mets are and where they are with their talent, it was a good fit.”

Cuddyer, who will turn 36 in March, is from Chesapeake, Va. He is a long time friend of another product of that area, Mets third baseman David Wright.

It’s an interesting comparison. Which team is closer? Is it the Mets, whose pitching includes National League Rookie of the Year Jacob de Grom and the return to health of Matt Harvey? Or is a better bet than the Rockies, who have unquestioned offensive prowess when healthy? Looking at it objectively, Cuddyer helps fill a major offensive hole for the Mets. Even with Cuddyer, the Rockies still have to address their pitching.

But Cuddyer did not want to leave saying anything unfavorable about the Rockies’ future prospects.

“I still believe what I said at the end of the year as far as the Rockies being close talent-wise, with their position players and with the talent they have in their pitching staff,” Cuddyer said. “By all means, I still believe in the Rockies. It’s just that I looked at the Mets with what they have, with Harvey coming back and the years that some of the other guys had, and coupled that with the fact they’re on the East Coast. It was nothing the Rockies did or didn’t do.”

Cuddyer said he’ll leave Colorado with fond memories.

“Winning a batting title and starting in the All-Star Game [interestingly at Citi Field, where he also participated in the Chevrolet Home Run Derby] made 2013 an extremely special year, not only for me but for my family as well,” Cuddyer said. “None of that would’ve happened without me going there.

“Playing for the Rockies helped me hone my approach at the plate. I was able to watch ‘Tulo’ [Troy Tulowitzki] and ‘CarGo’ [Carlos Gonzalez] and take bits and pieces from both of those guys, and apply it to my physical and mental approach. I especially learned from ‘Tulo,’ and the way he went after every at-bat. It made me better to play every day with him.

“It was a tough decision, no doubt about that. I’m leaving a lot of great friends and a lot of great relationships, not only teammates but staff, trainers, clubbies, front office and ownership. The way the Rockies treated my family and me showed that they really cared.”

How far are the Rockies from contending? The offseason strategy depends on their answer

Will shortstop Troy Tulowitzki be turning two elsewhere?

Will shortstop Troy Tulowitzki be turning two elsewhere?

New general manager Jeff Bridich, manager Walt Weiss and the front office he has put together are making quick work of assessing the Rockies’ roster. With the general managers meetings starting Monday in Phoenix, they must be prepared for talks with other clubs and negotiations with potential free agents.

I have no money for free agents. My front office staff consists of the birds and squirrels running around the neighborhood. So I’ll take some time to dig through the roster and bounce the ideas off you, the fans. Feel free to spend your lunch break (well, your work time, but we’ll keep that between us) walking through the tough Rockies questions with me.

Feel free to comment on Twitter: @harding_at_mlb

WARNING: There’s a lot here. The squirrels and birds crunched numbers and presented many scenarios. They’ve got a future in management.

Let’s look at the key question.

What type of pitching do the Rockies need to contend now and in the future?

Their last two playoff appearances could offer guidelines.

The Rockies went to the 2007 World Series based on pitching depth. They lost three of their five starters in August, and changed closers during the season, but developed and acquired good enough parts to stay in the race and win the National League Wild Card.

In 2009, they earned the NL Wild Card based on health and quality — five guys made all but eight starts, which mean they were whole enough and good enough to keep taking the ball. There was enough bullpen strength to withstand second-half injuries to lefty Alan Embree and closer Huston Street.

So, as trade rumors fly, it all comes back to the question: How close is Rockies’ pitching staff to the depth of 2007 and the quality of 2009?

Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez also could be on the move.

Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez also could be on the move.

That explains why the Rockies are listening to offers, not only for veteran first baseman Justin Morneau but for the very top guys on their payroll, shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and outfielder Carlos Gonzalez.

Let’s look at the rotation as it stands as the Rockies attempt to leap from 66-96 to contentions in the NL West:

• Lefty Jorge De La Rosa is the clear leader.  He’s by no means the equal of the front of the rotations of the defending NL West champion Dodgers or the World Series champ Giants, but not many folks can say they’ve thrived at Coors the way De La Rosa has.

• Righty Jhoulys Chacin saw his 2014 limited to 11 starts by issues with his rotator cuff and labrum. Chacin, the club and doctors decided on rehab and strengthening rather than surgery. Success of the decision will depend on the effectiveness of his rehab, diligent maintenance and, to some degree, good fortune. Not impossible, but it’s a lot.

• Righty Jordan Lyles and lefty Tyler Matzek, each 24, showed ability in their first seasons in Purple Pinstripes. Lyles went in with big-league time with the Astros. Matzek was making his debut. Can they go from developing talents to stalwarts? Once again, it’s asking a lot, but it’s not impossible.

The Rockies will need Jhoulys Chacin to bounce back from labrum and rotator cuff issues.

The Rockies will need Jhoulys Chacin to bounce back from labrum and rotator cuff issues.

• Beyond those four, there are options but none that compare to the competition. Righty Christian Bergman has more heart than stuff, but is promising because of his brainpower and competitiveness. The prospects behind him all have questions. Righty Eddie Butler’s debut year was spoiled by shoulder pain. Righty prospect Jon Gray is coming off his first full pro season, and the Rockies were careful with him because of fatigue at the end. Lefty prospect Tyler Anderson finished the year with an elbow issue that he’s trying to rehab over the winter.

Now, let’s look at the bullpen:

• Ageless LaTroy Hawkins returns as closer. With no big changes, it’s the same plan as last year – hope another option develops so Hawkins can pitch earlier in games.

• Righty Adam Ottavino overcame a month of struggles impressively enough last season that the Rockies see a bright future. There’s still the need to improve against left-handed hitters. Who knows? Maybe if he finds the magic against lefties, he could slide into the ninth inning.

• Lefty Rex Brothers went from a dazzling year in 2013 to a simply awful one in 2014. Part o the problem was the workload that fell to him when lefty Boone Logan was hampered by elbow issues throughout the first year of his three-year contract. The Rockies need rebounds from both.

• Righty Tommy Kahnle stuck out the full year as a Rule 5 Draft pick and showed a workable fastball-changeup mix. He’ll need to take this year’s experience and show greater savvy to earn an increased role.

• Beyond that are guys trying to establish themselves. Righty Brooks Brown’s control and ability to change speeds during his callups put him ahead of many pitchers who were on the staff the full year. The Rockies also hope for progress righty Juan Nicasio and lefty Christian Friedrich, who struggled as starters and were moved to the bullpen.

Weigh the dependable parts, the hopefuls and the holes, and you get a pitching staff that needs several quality pitchers in the rotation and the bullpen. Given that, how possible is it for the Rockies to contend in 2015? Are they prepared if they don’t content?

There are many ways to construe the Rockies' $15.3 million qualifying offer to first baseman-outfielder Michael Cuddyer

There are many ways to construe the Rockies’ $15.3 million qualifying offer to first baseman-outfielder Michael Cuddyer

A fine piece yesterday from Dave Cameron of Fangraphs suggests that extending the $15.3 million qualifying offer to first baseman-outfielder Michael Cuddyer could be construed as part of rebuilding rather than an attempt to hold the current lineup together. Cuddyer gets a nice payday, and if the Rockies are struggling at the deadline he could be dealt.

But these are the Major Leagues, where the majority of teams are in position to at least dream at the deadline. While there is a future to contend with, I and the wildlife outside my door want the Rockies to have a fighting chance in the present.

So here are some questions:

•Say the Rockies hold a strong lineup together and hold onto their big multi-year contracts, Tulowitzki and Gonzalez. They could hope to receive a solid veteran for the starting rotation for Morneau. Then they could go bargain hunting via free agency for another starter – say righty Justin Masterson, who is trying to rebuild his value after a rough 2014, or lefty Brett Anderson or righty Aaron Harang, who have proven ability but questionable health histories.

•Say the Rockies push hard to deal Tulowitzki and Gonzalez. Both are coming off shortened seasons because of surgeries, which might give other teams pause. The Rockies have said they will listen, and have given indications that clubs would have to make offers based on the players if healthy. Can they expect to receive star players who can rebuild the team?

What could NL batting champ Justin Morneau bring in a deal?

What could NL batting champ Justin Morneau bring in a deal?

•Let’s say the Rockies seek immediate payroll relief, rather than star-for-star deals or situations where they’re eating huge portions of the salaries of Tulowitkzi and Gonzalez. This is where the dreams get big.

With the money saved, maybe they can’t land any of the big three free-agent starters — James Shields, Max Scherzer or Jon Lester — and second-tier starters such as Ervin Santana and Brandon McCarthy could be risky propositions at Coors Field. But how about catcher Russell Martin, who could have strong offense at Coors and help the young starters? How about a big offer to righty reliever Andrew Miller, who could be the closer immediately? Righty setup Luke Gregerson pitched for the Athletics last year, but he has a long history in the NL West based on his days with the Padres.

All this leaves the Rockies with tough decisions.

The feeling has been they want one more run with their lineup core, only with some pitching added. They will have to believe they can acquire enough pitching through dealing not just Morneau but two arbitration-eligible chips – catcher Wilin Rosario, who could be a fit as a catcher-designated hitter in the American League, and outfielder Drew Stubbs, who recaptured some of his run-producing potential with the Rockies.

To succeed, such a plan has to have the Rockies stay healthy in the rotation, contend enough to be able to make trades at next summer’s non-waiver Trade Deadline, and finish the year with a roster and payroll capable of succeeding in future years.

All this makes the big trade sounds attractive, but there are risks.

Any deal involving Tulowitzki or Gonzalez would leave a big hole. When healthy, they not only are All-Stars and offensive threats, but they’re Gold Glove Award types. Also, if the Rockies don’t eat salary, the return might be less than if they were more willing in that regard. They’d have to count on any position player having his stats enhanced at Coors Field, and any young pitcher being an immediate help — an iffy proposition, based on history.

Should the Rockies take the plunge and deal Tulowitkzi or Gonzalez, or both, they key is not stopping there. Some of the players who come in a trade may have to be spun to other teams, especially if they use hitting prospects they receive to pull in pitchers.

– Thomas Harding

This blog is back; Morneau scratched tonight

7-18 lineupHello, fans. I backed away from blogging sometime ago, but now have set a schedule. I’ll blog the stuff you need quickly. Who knows? I may have some fun here.

Here’s stuff that isn’t fun, though:

– The Rockies scratched Justin Morneau before Friday night’s game against the Pirates at PNC Park because of neck stiffness. It was a problem during Spring Training and maybe once or twice when the season began, but at least it has not been a chronic issue. It’s Morneau’s return to Pittsburgh, where he spent the final month of last regular season and the National League Wild Card game, and Division Series loss to the Cardinals.

Charlie Culberson replaces Morneau. Culberson has never played at first base in the Majors or the Minors.

– Right-handed prospect Eddie Butler’s injury second rehab start (right rotator cuff strain) was postponed from Thursday to Friday. Butler was in Memphis for the game, but his Colorado Springs Sky Sox didn’t make it because of flight issues. Butler will pitch against the Memphis Redbirds at 6:05 p.m. MT. On Saturday, Butler went four innings and gave up three runs on two hits and two walks, with two strikeouts, while pitching for Class A Modesto on Saturday.

– Outfielder Michael Cuddyer (left shoulder fracture) and right-handed pitcher Christian Bergman (left hand fracture) are on the trip and working out. They’ll have examinations when the team returns to Denver Friday to determine their next rehab steps.

– Right-handed reliever Nick Masset (left patellar tendon strain) faced hitters for 20 pitches on Thursday night at PNC Park. If all goes well, he will be activated from the 15-day disabled list on Monday.

– Thomas Harding

Tracy says Rockies’ Colvin has earned increased opportunity

The idea that outfielder Tyler Colvin is strictly a backup for the Rockies could be changing.

Colvin started in center field, instead of Dexter Fowler, on Saturday against the Dodgers, and manager Jim Tracy said Colvin — hitting .314 with two home runs and 10 RBIs – has earned greater opportunity to start. The Rockies aren’t going away from left fielder Carlos Gonzalez, who leads the team in home runs with seven and RBIs with 26, or right fielder Michael Cuddyer, who is hitting .286 with four homers and is tied with first baseman Todd Helton for second in RBIs with 21.

That means Colvin’s starts will come at the expense of Fowler, who is hitting .223 with four homers and 14 RBIs.

Fowler has a .311 on-base percentage and 27 strikeouts in 94 at-bats, and has had two errors and a couple of defensive miscues. Actually, Colvin has an outfield error and 19 strikeouts in 51 at-bats, so he has statistical challenges as well.

“In any given situation he’s made the most of it, whether it’s starting a game, coming off the bench,” Tracy said. “We’ve gotten quality at-bats from him as a starter. He’s done a terrific job as a left-handed pinch-hitter.

“You’ve got to get him out there tonight. He’s pushing the envelope for more time. When a player does that, you have to be mindful of it and create additional opportunities for him to play. He is making a strong statement for himself to get more at-bats than he’s gotten to this point. We’re doing what’s in his best interest and also our baseball team’s best interest in getting him additional opportunity.”

ROCKIES LINEUP

2B Marco Scutaro

3B Jonathan Herrera

LF Carlos Gonzalez

SS Troy Tulowitzki

1B Todd Helton

RF Michael Cuddyer

CF Tyler Colvin

C Wilin Rosario

RHP Juan Nicasio

DODGERS LINEUP

SS Dee Gordon

2B Mark Ellis

CF Matt Kemp

RF Andre Ethier

LF Bobby Abreu

3B Juan Uribe

1B James Loney

C A.J. Ellis

RHP Aaron Harang  

Rockies welcome “the new” Alex White

Rockies fans saw right-hander Alex White late last season. They saw him give up 12 home runs in 36 1/3 innings.

But if what Rockies manager Jim Tracy saw when he was able to catch some of White’s work when he pitched at Triple-A Colorado Springs during the early part of this season, fans can forget about the Alex White they saw last year. The new White, Tracy hopes, will be revealed tonight against the Padres.

“I don’t know how this is going to play out, but I’ve seen him on television in some of these starts that he’s had in Triple-A,” Tracy said. “If that guy shows up, you’ll see a different pitcher than you saw last September and you’ll see a different guy than you saw last September.

Here are the lineups:

 

ROCKIES

1. Marco Scutaro, 2B (.266, 0 HR, 1 RBI)

2. Jordan Pacheco, 3B (.154, 0 HR, 0 RBI)

3. Carlos Gonzalez, LF (.320, 7 HR, 26 RBIs)

4. Troy Tulowitzki, SS (.266, 3 HR, 13 RBIs)

5. Todd Helton,1B (.233, 4 HR, 20 RBIs)

6. Michael Cuddyer, RF (.275, 3 HR, 18 RBIs)

7. Ramon Hernandez, C (.279, 4 HR, 14 RBIs)

8. Tyler Colvin, CF (.289, 2 HR, 10 RBIs)

9. Alex White, RHP (2012 debut)

 

PADRES

1. Will Venable, RF (.236, 1 HR, 2 RBIs)

2. Cameron Maybin, CF (.220, 1 HR, 9 RBIs)

3. Chase Headley, 3B (.255, 4 HR, 16 RBIs)

4. Yonder Alonzo, 1B (.283, 0 HR, 6 RBIs)

5. Mark Kotsay, LF (.276, 1 HR, 6 RBIs)

6. Orlando Hudson, 2B (.211, 1 HR, 8 RBIs)

7. John Baker, C (.091, 0 RBI, 1 RBI)

8. Jason Bartlett, SS (.141, 0 HR, 4 RBIs)

9. Jeff Suppan (1-0, 0.00 ERA)

Helton welcomes Hudson to Coors Field

This has been a beautiful day in Denver. The temperature on the Coors Field scoreboard reads 86, the breeze is gentle.

But forgive Braves pitcher Tim Hudson if he thinks he has just arrived at prison and the Rockies’ Todd Helton is the warden.

Hudson is 0-2 with a 7.77 ERA in four career starts at Coors. And Helton is 9-for-1o against Hudson at his home.

What’s funny is the numbers are the total opposite at Turner Field, where Helton is 4-0 with a 1.84 ERA in four career starts against the Rockies, and has held Helton to 1-for-5.

The Rockies have brought up onetime White Sox right-hander Carlos Torres, who went 2-1 with a 2.88 ERA in five starts at Triple-A Colorado Springs. Torres, 29, will be used as a long man in the bullpen. Depending on how he’s used the next couple of days, he could be called upon to start Tuesday against the Padres if right-hander Jeremy Guthrie is not ready to return from a recent shoulder injury.

Guthrie, by the way, threw a touch-and-feel bullpen session today and will face hitters at Coors before Saturday night’s game with the Braves.

Braves veteran Chipper Jones announced this spring that this would be his final season. He’s going out with a blast. The Braves have gone 11-2 with him in the starting lineup and Jones has had at least one hit in eight of those 13 starts. He’s hitting second for the Braves tonight.

As Mark Bowman of MLB.com notes, Jones batted just .191 with a home run and a .623 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) in his first 11 regular season games at Coors Field. Since then, however, Jones has batted .356 with 11 home runs and a 1.104 OPS in his past 46 road games against the Rockies. No wonder he has shaken off a sore left knee to be in the lineup tonight.

Rockies center fielder Dexter Fowler grew up in the Atlanta area, and the stats suggest he still loves the Braves. Fowler has batted .306 in 20 career games against the Braves. Helton (.332), the sizzling Carlos Gonzalez (.318) and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (.311) also are better than .300 against the Braves.

Now for the lineups.

BRAVES

1. Michael Bourn, CF (.321, 0 HR, 6 RBIs)

2. Chipper Jones, 3B (.273, 4 HR, 14 RBIs)

3. Freddie Freeman, 1B (.280, 4 HR, 19 RBIs)

4. Brian McCann, C (.241, 5 HR, 14 RBIs)

5. Dan Uggla, 2B (.265, 3 HR, 15 RBIs)

6. Jason Heyward, RF (.272, 2 HR, 11 RBIs)

7. Eric Hinske, LF (.357, 0 HR, 4 RBIs)

8. Jack Wilson, SS (.138, 0 HR, 3 RBIs)

9. Tim Hudson, RHP (1-0, 3.60 ERA)

ROCKIES

1. Marco Scutaro, 2B (.275, 0 HR, 1 RBI)

2. Jonathan Herrera, 3B (.265, 1 HR, 3 RBIs)

3. Carlos Gonzalez, LF (.310, 7 HRs, 23 RBIs)

4. Troy Tulowtizki, SS (.280, 3 HR, 13 RBIs)

5. Todd Helton, 1B (.236, 4 HR, 17 RBIs)

6. Michael Cuddyer, RF (.282, 2 HR, 12 RBIs)

7. Ramon Hernandez, C (.279, 4 HR, 14 RBIs)

8. Dexter Fowler, CF (.240, 4 HR, 11 RBIs)

9. Guillermo Moscoso, RHP (0-1, 10.80 ERA)

Rockies’ Tracy sees Dodgers’ Ted Lilly as another Jamie Moyer (only younger)

Dodgers left-handed pitcher Ted Lilly, 36, would be considered an old veteran if he weren’t in the same park as the Rockies’ Jamie Moyer, 49. Just call Lilly a younger version.

Lilly confounds the Rockies. he is 8-2 with a 3.84 ERA in 12 carer starts against them. His start against them tonight comes at a time when the Rockies are struggling to hit any pitcher like him. As the Denver Post’s Troy Renck reported today, Rockies third baseman Chris Nelson is 9-for-19 against lefty starters this season. The rest of the Rockies’ regulars, however, are 29-for-150 so far.

“He has some similarity to our left-hander by the name of Moyer,” Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. “Ted Lilly is a very intelligent pitcher. He has tremendous know-how. He’s not going to give in. Sitting on pitches against Ted Lilly is not a real good thing to do, because he’ll throw any pitch in any count. That’s what makes him successful. He’s very confident that he can do that, especially in hitter’s counts.”

Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki has especially struggled against lefty starters this year — 3-for-21.

Still, the Rockies want the bat in Tulowitzki’s hands. Seven of Tulowitzki’s 13 RBIs have put the Rockies in the lead. The only players with more game-winning RBis are a pair of Dodgers — Andre Ethier (9) and Matt Kemp (8).

In an interesting lineup move, Eric Young Jr. will start in center field in place of Dexter Fowler and bat leadoff, with second baseman Marco Scutaro dropping from first to second. The switch-hitting Young is 2-for-4 with a triple against lefty pitchers, starters or relievers, this season.

Dodgers lineup

Dee Gordon, SS (.207, 0 HR, 4 RBIs)

Mark Ellis, 2B (.247, 0 HR, 2 RBIs)

Matt Kemp, CF (.417, 12 HR, 25 RBIs)

Andre Ethier, RF (.276, 5 HR, 24 RBIs)

James Loney, 1B (.232, 1 HR, 6 RBIs)

Tony Gwynn, LF (.250, 0 HR, 2 RBIs)

Adam Kennedy, 3B (.059, 0 HR, 1 RBI)

Ted Lilly, LHP (2-0, 0.90 ERA)

Rockies lineup

Eric Young Jr., CF (.294, 0 HR, 2 RBIs)

Marco Scutaro, 2B (.259, 0 HR, 1 RBI)

Carlos Gonzalez, LF (.303, 4 HR, 18 RBIs)

Troy Tulowitzki, SS (.282, 3 HR, 13 RBIs)

Michael Cuddyer, RF (.299, 2 HR, 12 RBIs)

Ramon Hernandez, C (.246, 4 HR, 14 RBIs)

Chris Nelson, 3B (.226, 0 HR, 4 RBIs)

Jhoulys Chacin, RHP (0-2, 5.85 ERA)

 

Rockies: Helton, Hernandez rest; Colvin gets a start

Rockies manager Jim Tracy decided Wednesday to give veteran first baseman Todd Helton and catcher Ramon Hernandez extra rest by not starting them in Wednesday’s first game of a doubleheader against the Pirates at PNC Park. Jason Giambi started at first base and Willin Rosario was the catcher.

Game 1 also gave the Rockies an opportunity to start Tyler Colvin in center field. Colvin, hitting .323 in part-time duty, started instead of Dexter Fowler, who is at .224 after getting a hit in Tuesday night’s 5-4 loss to the Pirates.

“Hernandez and Helton, just because of the opportunity to give them a few more hours to recharge their batteries,” Tracy said. “I’m looking at our lineup in Game 1 and Game 2 and feeling real good about the fact that these lineups right here can win on any given day.

“I’m not taking anything away from Dexter because I’m using Dexter in the second game, but I want to keep Tyler Colvin in play and try to find him games to be involved in.”

Tracy said he plans to start left fielder Carlos Gonzalez, who homered twice Tuesday night, shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and right fielder Michael Cuddyer in both games.

Right-handed relief pitcher Zach Putnam, recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs as the 26th player (allowed under new Collective Bargaining Agreement rules for doubleheaders), will wear No. 54. Putnam was 1-0 with a 1.23 ERA, three saves, 11 strikeouts and three walks in five Triple-A appeareances. Last season, Putnam appeared in eight games with the Indians (1-1, 6.14 ERA, nine strikeouts, two walks), and came to the Rockies over the winter for pitcher Kevin Slowey.

The Pirates are a heavily right-handed hitting team, which plays into the hands of today’s starting pitchers, Juan Nicasio and Jhoulys Chacin. Nicasio has held right-handed hitters to a .226 career aveage in a big-league career that has consisted of 14 starts last year and three this yer, and Game 2 starter Jhoulys Chacin has held righties to a career .208 average. This year, righties are hitting .100 (3-for-30), the fourth-lowest average among right-handed pitchers in baseball.

Rockies, Game 1

Marco Scutaro, 2B (.224)

Tyler Colvin, CF (.323)

Carlos Gonzalez, LF (.278)

Troy Tulowitzki, SS (.293)

Jason Giambi, 1B (.273)

Michael Cuddyer, RF (.322)

Wilin Rosario, C (.261)

Chris Nelson, 3B (.239)

Juan Nicasio, RHP (1-0, 6.19 ERA)

Pirates, Game 1

Alex Presley, LF (.288)

Jose Tabata, RF (.196)

Andrew McCutchen, CF (.339)

Neil Walker, 2B (.222)

Casey McGehee, 1B (.289)

Pedro Alvarez, 3B (.108)

Clint Barmes, SS (.146)

Michael McKenry, C (.286)

James McDonald, RHP (0-1, 3.45 ERA)

 

Tracy stays with Fowler despite scary matchup numbers

Tuesday night is as good a night as any for Rockies center fielder Dexter Fowler to crack Pirates right-handed pitcher Kevin Correia.

Fowler is 0-for-19 in 21 plate appearances against Correia. Fowler has struck out nine times against one walk, and has a sacrifice bunt.

With Fowler hitting .222, it would seem a good time to sit him. But Fowler went 2-for-5 over the final two games of the Milwaukee series, when the Rockies took 2-of-3, and manager Jim Tracy said he wants to make sure to send Fowler the message that he is the starter in center field. Last year, Fowler struggled early when he was in and out of the lineup. After a demotion to Triple-A Colorado Springs, Fowler received steady playing time and was one of the hottest hitters on the team in the second half of the year.

This year Fowler has drawn seven walks and has a .327 on-base percentage, as well as two home runs and six RBIs from the No. 2 spot in the batting order.

Tracy has rotated his bench players into the starting lineup at various times, and said Wednesday’s doubleheader is a time to continue that practice. But he also wants his regular players to feel that they’re regulars, even when playing through slumps.

“I want them all in a good place, and I want them all to come to the ballpark with the realization and the expectation that unless I’ve told them something differently, that you expect to play,” Tracy said. “I don’t want them walking in here feeling like they have to do guesswork from day today whether or not they’re gonig to be in there.”

The most favorable matcup for the Rockies is catcher Ramon Hernandez, who is 3-for-5 (.600) with a double agaisnt Correia. Also, Carlos Gonzalez, hitting a pedestrian .240, is 4-for-14 with two home runs and a double against Correia.

Rockies lefty Jamie Moyer, the oldest pitcher to win a game in Major League history, will try to add to his record tonight at 49 years and 158 days.

Rockies lineup

Marco Scutaro, 2B (.222)

Dexter Fowler, CF (.222)

Carlos Gonzalez, LF (.240)

Troy Tulowitzki, SS (.296)

Todd Helton, 1B (.239)

Michael Cuddyer, RF (.345)

Ramon Hernandez, C (.289)

Chris Nelson, 3B (.256)

Jamie Moyer, LHP (.000)

Pirates lineup

Alex Presley, LF (.273)

Jose Tabata, RF (.170)

Andrew McCutchen, CF (.351)

Casey McGehee, 1B (.278)

Neil Walker, 2B (.240)

Yamico Navarro, 3B (.000)

Rod Barajas, C (.091)

Clint Barmes, SS (.089)

Kevin Correia, RHP (.251)

Tulowitzki rests, clears his head; Scutaro plays short, Herrera second

Veteran Jason Giambi introduced his friend and Rockies teammate, shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, to someone really special Tuesday night.

“I showed him some highlights of him playing and, ‘That’s you.’” Giambi said. “I said, ‘I know. I’ve been there many times, the deer in the highlights look and you’re just reeling.’ He’ll get through this just great. He’ll be fine.”

Right now, Tulowitzki doesn’t recognize the player he sees in the mirror.

Tulowitzki committed two errors Tuesday night, the second of which nearly cost teammate Jamie Moyer in his bid to become the oldest Major League pitcher ever to win a game at 49 years and 151 days. The Rockies prevailed and Moyer earned his place in history. Now Tulowitzki needs to realize that his ability to control a game from shortstop isn’t history, either.

The present isn’t looking so bright for Tulowitzki. His six errors match his total for last season, and he is hitting .244. Both of those figures are shocking for a player who has won National League Rawlings Gold Glove and Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger awards for each of the last two seasons.

Tulowitzki, who was out of the lineup for the first time this season for the Padres-Rockies game Wednesday night, admitted the mistakes — especially the throwing errors — are weighing on him. He said he has been worried about his throwing since Saturday night, when he had two throwing errors while playing in wet and cold conditions against the D-backs.

“I’m taking the field and thinking about it,” Tulowitzki said. “I never thought about defense. I just go out there and play, and if I make an error, I made an error. But I wasn’t worried about it. So, yeah, I think about it. It’s in my head. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t in my head. I think about it because I care.

“It’s never that I don’t want the ball to come to me. Once I reach that point, then I have some serious problems. I want the ball. But more or less when you’re playing catch, it’s, ‘OK, hit him in the chest,’ where before it was just throwing it to him. It’s more things like that, that I never really thought about. There’s nothing more to really say than that.”

Tulowitzki suffered a right hip flexor strain during the season’s first series at Houston, but he played through it and insisted that there is no injury that’s preventng him from performing well.

Marco Scutaro moved from second base to shortstop, the position he occupied with the Red Sox last season, and Jonathan Herrera started at second base.

In other lineup news, catcher Wilin Rosario started for the second straight game while Ramon Hernandez nursed a sore left hand. Manager Jim Tracy said Hernandez should be available Friday night when the Rockies begin a three-game series at Milwaukee.

Padres lineup

Will Venable, CF

Chris Denorfia, RF

Chase Headley, 3B

Jesus Guzman, LF

Yonder Alonso, 1B

Nick Hundley, C

Jason Bartlett, SS

Orlando Hudson, 2B

Clayton Richard, LHP

Rockies lineup

Marco Scutaro, SS

Dexter Fowler, CF

Carlos Gonzalez, LF

Michael Cuddyer, RF

Todd Helton, 1B

Wilin Rosario, C

Chris Nelson, 3B

Jonathan Herrera, 2B

Juan Nicasio, RHP

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