Ryan McMahon finally made a home-run splash for the Rockies. Then he disappeared. But why? | The Athletic ($)
Last Wednesday against the New York Mets, Ryan McMahon came through with the biggest hit of his young Rockies career — a pinch-hit go-ahead three-run home run in the bottom of the fifth inning to make the score 9-8. It was a sorely needed hit for the team. McMahon was clearly fired up. The dugout was clearly fired up. But the next day, McMahon was a roster casualty, being sent down to Triple-A Albuquerque. Calling up another (ninth) bullpen arm was something that had to be done for a depleted relief corps, and it came at the disposal of McMahon.
McMahon’s home run came after exhaustive work with Rockies’ hitting coaches Duane Espy and Jeff Salazar to remake a swing that was “a looping rollercoaster of ill-timed movements,” as Nick Groke of The Athletic puts it. The adjustment was to put McMahon’s bat in a more vertical position by lowering his hands. After taking “200” swings (which McMahon himself admits is an exaggerated number), he put his new approach into game action, and saw instant results.
When the Rockies returned to a four-man bench, it was Pat Valaika, not McMahon, who got the call. It’s easy to follow the logic of the Rox calling up the right-handed hitting Valaika when the team will be facing a plethora of left-handed pitching in the coming days, even considering his dreadful numbers across the board in limited major-league action in 2018. As for McMahon, Rockies Manager Bud Black wants the rookie to “put some numbers up” in Albuquerque.
Nolan Arenado channeling passion — and anger — to get Rockies on track | The Denver Post($)
No one is harder on Nolan Arenado than himself. Even during what is on pace to be the best season of his career, Arenado is more apt to look at his team’s 8-14 record in the month of June, and chalk it up to him not coming through with a timely hit. Since receiving a day off against the Philadelphia Phillies on June 14, Arenado has hit .390 in 10 games, with six home runs. When asked about what has sparked such a hot stretch of hitting, Arenado suggested the day off helped, but also “the anger of losing and playing bad” that kindled his desire to be better.
Rockies’ Arenado dubbed National League player of the week | Mile High Sports
Arenado was honored with National League player of the week honors for the 7-day period ending on June 24. Over the past week, Arenado has hit to the tune of a .379/.419/.966 slash line. This is the fifth time capturing the award for Arenado, and the first player of the week honor for the Rockies this season. Arenado last won for the week ending on July 23, 2017.
A fun fact that I was unaware of: Arenado is awarded with a watch courtesy of Rockwell in honor of winning the player of the week award.
Arenado holds 3B lead in All-Star voting | Rockies.com
For me, there’s no doubt that Arenado and shortstop Trevor Story should be starting for the National League in the All-Star Game. Currently, Arenado is in line to do so at third base, as he has a comfortable lead over Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs (though the gap between the two appears to be getting slimmer). Arenado leads NL third basemen in fWAR, home runs, runs scored, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, and wOBA. Story looks like a long shot at this point, as he’s trailing shortstops Brandon Crawford of the San Francisco Giants, Dansby Swanson of the Atlanta Braves, and Addison Russell of the Chicago Cubs in the voting. Story leads NL shortstops in home runs, runs batted in, doubles, wOBA, and WPA (Win Probability Added).
Colorado Rockies: How Carlos Gonzalez rebuilt himself to vintage (again) | Rox Pile
Since May 27, Carlos Gonzalez is slashing .357/.419/.560. It was no secret that for much of 2017 and the early part of 2018, CarGo’s swing had become very long and he was trying to pull home runs. That’s not a recipe for success for Gonzalez, and Jake Shapiro of Rox Pile has all the GIFs you need to explain what has gone right for CarGo over the past month or so.
Colorado Rockies: Bullpen management has to improve | Rox Pile
Rox Pile’s Noah Yingling has some strong words for Black’s bullpen management, particularly the usage of Bryan Shaw in high-leverage situations.
Colorado Rockies: Four quotes that explain so much about the bullpen | Rox Pile
Kevin Henry of Rox Pile has compiled four quotes from Black that offer clarity on the bullpen. The quotes suggest that there won’t be significant personnel changes to the ‘pen this season (or for future seasons, as multiple relievers are signed to multi-year deals), but that a role change could be in store for Shaw.
‘Honestly, I tried’: After the Angels bought him out, closer Huston Street tried against hope to pitch again | The Athletic ($)
Huston Street could have been an option for the Rockies’ bullpen, as he called Black prior to the season to gauge interest in his services. The Los Angeles Angels had declined their team option over Street entering the 2018 season, as the one-time closer had been dealing with some recent injuries that worked to derail his career. Street, a member of the Rockies from 2009-2011, had some conditions in his call to Black, one of which was a guarantee that he would make the big league roster. One can assume that this was not a condition with which the Rockies were willing to hand to the former Rookie of the Year.