Nolan Arenado Fighting Through Slump, Focused on Wins

May 29, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado (28) rips off his glove after a play in the fifth inning against the San Francisco Giants at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
May 29, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado (28) rips off his glove after a play in the fifth inning against the San Francisco Giants at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /
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In the third inning of Tuesday’s 7-3 victory over the Los Angeles, Nolan Arenado hit a ball about as hard as you can … straight into the glove of Dodger third baseman Justin Turner. Arenado walked back to the Colorado Rockies dugout, letting out a scream of frustration.

Such is the current state of Colorado’s All-Star third baseman, who entered Tuesday’s series opener hitting just .115 over his last seven games and just 1 for his previous 18 at the dish.

“I’m just trying to keep my routine. Stay inside the ball and work hard,” Arenado said. “I’m not thinking right now. I’m just trying to hit the ball hard. In all of my cage work and that’s what I’m going to take into games is hit the ball hard. Hopefully I can apply that to the game.”

Make no mistake, Arenado’s defensive game is still strong to say the least as you can see from this defensive highlight from Tuesday night’s game.

Offensively though, Arenado is clearly in a funk and an off day from manager Walt Weiss on Sunday and a scheduled off day on Monday did little to shake him out of it. Arenado finished Tuesday night 1-for-4, dropping his overall batting average to .278, the lowest it’s been since April 25.

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“I still came into the game,” Arenado said about Sunday. “I don’t like days off. I don’t want them. Walt sees sometimes they’re needed and sometimes they are. It is what it is and hopefully I don’t have to take another day off the rest of the year. To have Monday off, I can rest. My body feels great and I’m ready to go today. It’s a big series against the Dodgers and I’m excited for it.”

While Arenado has been struggling, his teammates have been doing anything but, pushing the Rockies into the National League Wild Card conversation. He was quick to give praise to the Colorado pitching staff, who logged a franchise-record 20 quality starts in July.

“Our starting pitching has really set the tone for a while now,” Arenado said. “It’s been great and given us a chance to score runs. We’re having quality at-bats. We’re having sacrifice flies and moving guys over and doing the little things it takes to win games. When starting pitching does what they do, it’s a good outcome.”

Arenado may be in a slump and his team may have hit some troubled times before the All-Star break, but he says tough times don’t rattle him or this year’s version of the Colorado Rockies.

“We’ve always been confident the whole year. That’s never wavered,” Arenado said. “We went through a couple of bad streaks but our confidence never wavered. We always felt good about ourselves. After tough games, we always came into the clubhouse with the same attitude. Things were fine and everyone was talking. Now we’re just playing ball games. Our starting pitching is pitching really well and giving us a chance to win.”

And when Nolan Arenado says “win,” he’s talking about winning some important games this week in a homestand that features two teams (the Dodgers and Miami Marlins) the Rockies are chasing, as well as the American League West-leading Texas Rangers.

Pressure? Hardly. Arenado said he’s excited about playing games with potential postseason implications.

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“We’re home. It’s a big homestand for us and we understand that,” Arenado said. “This is what you want. It’s nice to come to the park knowing we’re in this and we have meaningful games.”

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