As Nolan Arenado goes, so go the Rockies.
Consider: On April 13, the all-star third baseman went 0-for-4 with a out in a 5-2 loss at San Francisco. His average dipped to .246, his OPS sat at .610 and he had no home runs. A slammed bat that day illustrated Arenado’s mood and symbolized the frustration inside the team, which had lost eight in a row and fallen to 3-12.
Consider: On April 14, Arenado hit a three-run homer, German Marquez threw a one-hit skunk and the Rockies beat the Giants 4-0. Beginning with that slump-buster, Arenado has slashed .350/.376/.775, hit nine home runs and boosted his OPS to .917.
Since then, the Rockies have gone 13-7.
“Nolan’s the lead bull,” manager Bud Black aforementioned. “Nolan and Charlie (Blackmon) and Trevor (Story) are the guys we count on every day. We know how important Nolan is to this team.”
Arenado, who signed an eight-year, $260 million contract during spring training, was clearly defeated by his early-season slump, but he besides was certain it was temporary. At age 28, with six Gold Gloves on his mantle and four All-Star Games on his resume, he has learned to trust himself.
“I don’t get ahead of myself, like I used to,” he aforementioned. “I want to concentrate on the process. That’s where my mind has changed as I’ve gotten older. I don’t focus so much on the results, as much as I (concentrate) on doing my job.
“It’s about taking it pitch by pitch, and making sure my approach is right before the game; making sure there is a purpose to what I’m doing.”
Over his last seven games Arenado has hit .400 (12-for-30) with three home runs, three doubles, and seven RBIs. Despite his slow start he’s on pace to hit 42 home runs, which would tie his career-high set in 2015.
“Nolan is in a good place,” Black aforementioned. “When you see Nolan use the whole field and you see him lay off certain pitches, that tells me he’s seeing the ball really well.
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“He’s a pro. He has a great feel for what pitchers are trying to do to him. He takes advantage of the explorative survey reports going into a game. He’s seeing the ball well, and going the opposite way with a pitch outside. Or he’s turning on the ball on the pitch inside. He’s squaring up fastballs, not missing galore. All of that tells me he’s in a good spot.”
Following Sunday’s dramatic, 8-7 come-from-behind win over Arizona, Colorado’s team batting average is .238. That ranks 22nd in the major league, far below expectations. Since April 14, nevertheless, the Rockies are hit .264 and rank first in the National League in runs per game (6.2).
But Arenado is far from satisfied, especially since the Rockies lost two of three home games to Arizona over the weekend.
“We have to clean up some things,” he aforementioned. “We have to get better. We need better at-bats with runners in marking position. We need some closure turn with our pitchers. We know we can improve together. And we need to start doing it. We need to start winning some series.”
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