In the Rockpile: Patience, depth help Rockies climb toward first


Colorado Rockies column banner: In the Rockpile

Tyler Chatwood throws a pitch for the Rockies.
Tyler Chatwood has helped the Rockies stay in contention. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)

Having survived a three-week batting slump, where the team couldn’t seem to score unless it was on a home run, the Colorado Rockies are trying to get more consistent at the plate, and it’s working.

Three weeks into the season, the Rockies went 13-4 with a succession of series sweeps and consecutive wins, yet they’ve posted a 10-14 record since. They held first place most of April but have since lost their grip on it. Luckily, the Rockies are only two games out of first in the NL West, despite recent inconsistencies.

Trying to gain lost ground, the Rockies won two in a row against the San Francisco Giants and are only one game behind them in the division. Pitching has been a big part of of the success as the lineup went through a cold spell in scoring. In for injured Jeff Francis, Tyler Chatwood has been a prominent part of the Rockies’ recent wins, both on the mound and at the plate; he scored three runs on three hits in one of his outings.

Troy Tulowitzki has been solid and Carlos Gonzalez found his way out of a slump himself. Walt Weiss’ team is finding themselves again despite injuries to the productive Michael Cuddyer and the struggling Francis. The Rockies have a deeper team after calling up returning faces such as Charlie Blackmon and Josh Outman while getting a killer effort from Jonathan Herrera.

The Rockies had a slump, but it appears they may have found the key to getting out by combining their best efforts in pitching and hitting to scratch out some wins. Constantly swinging for the fences produces some highlights, but there is nothing wrong with getting some well-placed, in-the-park hits. Solo home runs aren’t as valuable as a one-run single, or a slow-looping gap single for two runs. The hits will come, but the Rockies have to remain patient at the plate and stop trying to hit a home run every at-bat. Gonzalez leads the team in strikeouts but also leads in home runs … while Tulowitzki leads the team in RBIs and patience.

The hits will come and the season is long. Save some for later.

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