Charlie Blackmon’s numbers – averaging 0.241 and 0.729 OPS at the start of June – aren’t exactly “evil”.
But the veteran outfielder, who turns 36 on July 1, is showing signs of emerging from a seasonal slump. And with a little thunder too. He has seven homers after hitting just 13 last season.
“I feel like I’ve been hitting some balls really hard lately and I’ve had competitive at-bats,” Blackmon said. “Everything feels good and I’m there for every attack. Sometimes I would swing the ball pretty well and not get away with a hit. I think overall I’m in a good place.”
In Wednesday’s doubleheader against the Marlins at Coors Field, Blackmon has safely hit base in 16 straight games and scored safely in 14 of his last 15 games with a .278 clip. He seems to have stepped out of the rut he was in in early May when a 10-to-60 stretch dropped his average to a .216.
“Charlie is in a good place now,” Rockies manager Bud Black said Tuesday. “The bat speed is here. He swings shots, takes balls and uses the whole field. Then Charlie is best.
“If he uses the whole field, hits the ball where it’s thrown, doesn’t try too hard and doesn’t swing too far. recognize the situation, that’s when he’s at his best. All the things when you’re okay happen for Charlie.”
Blackmon took a big step backwards last season. His .270 average and .411 slugging percentage were career lows, and his 13 home runs were his fewest in a full season with the Rockies.
Blackmon also had to adjust to a new role. Now that the designated hitter is in the National League, he’s being used a lot more as a DH.
“I actually feel pretty good about DH-ing,” he said. “Now that it’s part of the (National League) game, I’ve been working on it and I’m pretty comfortable with it. I don’t mind it, although I still prefer to play as a full baseball player rather than a half baseball player.”
In games where Blackmon has started in right field, he has hit .230 with three homers in 110 plate appearances. As a DH, he hit .262 with four homers in 75 plate appearances.
Blackmon Milestones. Blackmon’s 198 career home runs rank seventh in franchise history, and he’s just three home runs away from Dante Bichette in sixth place. Blackmon, who overtook Bichette on May 16 for the fourth most doubles in franchise history, is just six doubles away from Carlos González (277) for third all-time. Blackmon hit his 53rd career triple in Washington Thursday, tying Dexter Fowler for the most in franchise history.
Stay in place. Right-hander Ryan Feltner, who clinched his first major league win by an impressive seven innings in Colorado’s 7-1 win over the Marlins on Monday, is sticking around for a while. He will not return to Triple-A Albuquerque. Rather, he lined up to start against the Braves on Sunday. Feltner has a 2.25 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 12 innings.
To keep Feltner on the roster, the Rockies selected right-hander Chad Smith to triple-A on Tuesday. However, Smith will likely remain with the Rockies as the 27th man on the roster for Wednesday’s doubleheader. Smith made his major league debut in Washington on Saturday, throwing a scoreless inning.
Game 1: Marlins LHP Trevor Rogers (2-5, 5.23 ERA) or RHP Edward Cabrera (0-3, 5.81 in 2021) at Rockies RHP German Marquez (1-5, 6.30)
Game 2: Marlins’ Rogers or Cabrera at Rockies RHP Antonio Senzatela (2-2, 4.55)
Wednesday, 1:10 p.m., Coors Field
(Game 2 starts 45 minutes after the end of Game 1)
Radio: 850 AM/94.1 FM
Marquez, who was due to start Tuesday night’s game before it rained, recently got a haircut. Perhaps it will help the right-hander regain his all-star mojo from a year ago. Marquez did well in his first start of the season against the Dodgers at Coors Field but has since attained a 7.12 ERA. His lack of fastball command was an issue all season and for much of the second half of last season as well. He’s 3-3 with a 4.11 ERA in six career starts against Miami.
Senzatela is coming off a 15-day stint on the injured list. He said Tuesday that his sore lower back was 100% recovered. Senzatela, who relies on groundball outs to avoid trouble, has been hit hard this season, as his 1,888 WHIP attests. He’s hit just 11 hitters in 29 2/3 innings over seven starts, but he’s managed to win at Coors Field and has won 26-12 in 66 games (54 starts) in his career at the hitter-friendly ballpark. In five games (one start) against Miami, Senzatela is 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA.
Rogers disregarded Miami’s 6-4 loss to Atlanta last Friday, giving up three runs in four hits and a five-inning walk. He canceled three. The left-hander was hit hard last. In fact, three of the Braves’ four hits went for extra bases. Rogers didn’t make it through six innings in any of his five starts in May when he posted a 5.32 ERA for the month. He dominated the Rockies in his only start against them, allowing a deserved seven-inning run with just three hits while hitting eight.
Cabrera, a rookie, made his debut last season going 19 and batting 28 in 26 1/3 innings. The right-hander, No. 49 overall in the major according to MLB Pipeline, appeared to be part of the starting rotation earlier this season, but a bicep injury has put him on the bench so far.
Trend: In his last 53 games at Coors Field, since August 3 of last season, first baseman CJ Cron has undercut .401/.458/.759 with 19 doubles, 17 homers and 60 RBIs.
In question: The Rockies’ pitchers opened the season strong, but they now have a 4.98 ERA, the fourth-highest in the majors.
Thursday: Braves RHP Ian Anderson (3-3, 4.34) at Rockies LHP Austin Gomber (2-5, 5.51)
Friday: Braves LHP Max Fried (5-2, 10/3) at Rockies RHP Chad Kuhl (4-2, 3:56), 6:40 p.m