Saturday Rockpile: Tulowitzki Powering Rockies Offense

Troy Tulowitzki delivers a three-run double that would turn out to be the game-winner against the Arizona Diamondbacks last night. - Jennifer Stewart

The return of the All-Star shortstop has been key to the Rockies resurgence in 2013.

It's something I've been saying since his rookie year in 2007, and has become an almost universal truth:

"As goes Tulo, so go the Rockies."

Luckily for the Rockies in 2013, Troy Tulowitzki is going quite well thus far, hitting .297/.375/.608 with six home runs and 21 RBIs in 22 games. He has also posted a .412 wOBA and 154 wRC+ in the early going, both would be career highs, as would his SLG and OPS.

Yesterday, Tulowitzki again came up with the big hit for the Rockies, a two-out, three-run double in the fifth inning to give the Rockies a 5-3 lead they would not relinquish. Tulo is now 5-for-11 with four doubles this season with two outs and runners in scoring position.

Once again, Tulo has done a lot of his damage on the first pitch. He is 6-for-10 on the first pitch this season, with a pair of doubles and three home runs against the pitcher's initial offering. He has put the first pitch in play 444 times in his career, hitting .381 with 32 home runs and 97 runs driven in.

Stats suggest Tulowitzki has been a bit unlucky this year as well, with a career-low .267 BABIP (his career number is .312.) His line drive rate has been a bit down so far, with his fly ball rate up, so look out when he starts squaring up the ball.

He has also played his usual stellar defense, highlighted by the nice play he made in the bottom of the fifth yesterday to get Gerardo Parra on a slow roller to start the inning.

Needless to say, the Rockies missed Tulo dearly in 2012, and he will be a key component to their success going forward in 2013.

Links:

Renck: Tulo playing star role for first-place Rockies
Here's Troy Renck talking with Walt Weiss about the impact of Tulowitzki on the club.

Renck: Belisle's good slider throws Diamondbacks for curve
Renck again, this time talking about Matt Belisle's Houdini act in the seventh in a recap of the Rockies 6-3 win over Arizona last night.

Renck: Rockies' Carlos Gonzalez "swinging at bad pitches" during his slump
Meanwhile, the Rockies other star is struggling at the moment, with just three hits in his last 25 at-bats. Gonzalez blames his chasing pitches on the slump, and says he knows what he needs to do to correct the problem.

Status of 10 lame-duck MLB managers - ESPN
ESPN's Jayson Stark discusses the situation with each of the 10 managers in the final year of their contract, including Walt Weiss.

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