On May 15, 1941, Yankee outfielder Joe DiMaggio got a hit off of White Sox pitcher Edgar Smith and he wouldn’t stop getting hits until July 17, 1941. For 56 games in a row, DiMaggio would tally at least one hit, cementing a legacy and establishing a major league record that has yet to be replicated or broken.
The hit streak is one of my favorite things to keep track of, especially when a player starts to hit double digits in the streak. Hitting a baseball is one of the hardest things to do in sports and to be able to do it once a game for weeks is worthy of recognition. The Rockies themselves have had quite a few impressive streaks throughout their history, so in honor of Joltin’ Joe let’s take a look back at some of those notable efforts to beat the streak.
Nolan Arenado, 28 games, 2014
As it turns out, Nolan Arenado the Colorado Rockie was a phenomenal baseball player. In just his second season in 2014, Arenado went off against big league pitching and set a franchise record with a 28-game hitting streak.
Starting April 9, Arenado would get a hit every day for a month, until he went 0-3 with a walk against the Cincinnati Reds. At the age of 23, Arenado didn’t have to scavenge for hits as he managed a line of .360/.383/.568 with 40 hits during the 28-game hitting streak. Do I still miss him? Yes. But will I still remember his achievements in purple fondly in my heart? Also yes.
Michael Cuddyer, 27 games, 2013
If I gave you three guesses to name the player that held the franchise record for longest hit streak prior to Arenado, would Michael Cuddyer have cracked your top five of possibilities? When the Rockies traded Seth Smith and signed Cuddyer after the 2011 season, it drew some mixed reactions, but no one was more delighted than my 15-year-old self.
My faith in Cuddyer was rewarded in 2013 when he hit for 27 straight games from May 28 to the end of June. It set the franchise record for the Rockies at the time, and it was also the longest streak since Dan Uggla’s 33-game streak in 2011. During the streak, Cuddyer batted .372/.400/.575 which prompted a lanky high schooler to write “Cuddy is my Buddy” on a homemade sign and wave it around at a game.
Vinny Castilla, 22, 1997
Vinny Castilla was a powerhouse for the Rockies in the 90s. Notably, for Castilla, his longest hit streak with the Rockies came in 1997 when he strung together hits in 22 straight games. Unlike Arenado and Cuddyer, Castilla managed his hit streak near the end of the season instead of the beginning or the middle, which is impressive considering the fatigue that can set in during August and September.
During his streak, Castilla batted an impressive line of .386/.433/.759 with 32 hits. His efforts also helped the Rockies to a 14-8 record during that stretch, but the team would fade away during the final month of the season and ultimately finish seven games behind the Giants in the division. Castilla sometimes gets lost in discussions about key figures in Rockies history, but he did plenty to set himself apart thanks to his individual achievements like the hit streak.
Troy Tulowitzki, 21, 2015
Troy Tulowitzki was enjoying a return to form in 2015. He was staying healthy, he was hitting, and his fielding was as slick as ever. The only problem was that some drama was brewing behind the scenes with former general manager Jeff Bridich. Before the trade to the Blue Jays, Tulo was enjoying some impressive streaks in the 2015 season.
From June 15 to July 9, Tulo gathered hits in 21-straight games to the tune of a .354/.400/.451 batting line. He managed 29 hits during the streak with only four of them being extra-base hits. The hits also contributed to Tulo’s on-base streak that managed to go 41 games during that season. Who knows what else Tulowitzki could have achieved in the coming years with Colorado, but for Rockies fans it was nice to witness one last piece of Tulo magic before he headed to Canada.
The Rockies have had plenty of other quality streaks in their history, with many more to come. We’ve seen guys like David Dahl tie a rookie record with a 17-game hit streak to start his career in 2016. We’ve seen Charlie Blackmon flirt with a 20-game streak multiple times, including his absurd .567 AVG during his 15-game streak to start 2020. With hitting machines players like Ramiel Tapia, and others coming up through the ranks, I’ll be anxiously watching for the next exciting hit streak for the Colorado Rockies.
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The Rockies have enjoyed some surprises behind the catching tandem in 2021. Dom Nuñez and Elias Díaz have acted as a natural platoon on paper, but both feature strengths and weaknesses that complement each other perfectly. Nuñez is among rookie leaders in RBIs and one of the better hitting catchers in baseball right now.
However, what Díaz lacks in offensive prowess this season, he is making up for it with his ability to cut down runners on the bases. If both can strengthen the weak spots in their game, the Rockies may just be able to have stability at a position they haven’t for a long time.
There was an assumption coming from the Rockies that Yonathan Daza had a fantastic glove defensively, but that he would not be a high-caliber hitter at the big-league level. However, in a small sample size of about 100 plate appearances, Daza carries a batting average hovering around .337 which proves that you can’t always judge a book by its cover.
On the farm
The Albuquerque Isotopes fell to the El Paso Chihuahuas 2-0. The Isotopes drop to 1-8 on the season after only managing three hits in the game. It looked like the Isotopes would manage to pull off the rally in the top of the ninth with two on and only one out, but Mason Thompson came in and forced Greg Bird and Brian Serven to ground out and secure the victory for El Paso. Kyle Freeland, in his first rehab start, threw four innings allowing one run on two hits and issuing only one walk. He was followed by a strong three-inning performance from Jack Wynkoop and a clean eighth from Logan Cozart.
In Hartford, the Yard Goats pulled off another win on back-to-back nights against the Portland Sea Dogs. The story of the night was Ryan Rolison who improves to 2-1 on the season after pitching 5 2⁄3 strong innings, allowing one run on four hits while striking out four with one walk. Matt McLaughlin also added a pair of RBIs on the night to help lead the Yard Goats offense.
The Spokane Indians fell to the Vancouver Canadians 4-2 after Helcris Olivarez struggled in his third start of the year. The Canadians tagged Olivarez for four runs on six hits in five innings. The Spokane bullpen kept the game close, but the offense couldn’t overcome the deficit and mustered two runs on four hits. However, Willie MacIver did smack his first home run of the year in the seventh inning.
The Fresno Grizzlies win the award for “Best Offense in the system” after a 14-4 offensive explosion over the Visalia Rawhide. Fresno tallied 14 hits with four players totaling two hits apiece. Aside from a scoreless first inning, Fresno scored in each of the next seven innings thanks to a 6-18 performance with RISP. Notably, Zac Veen went 2-3 at the plate while driving in three runs.
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