Nolan Arenado, the All-Star third baseman for the Colorado Rockies, has his routines. He sticks to them, no matter the circumstances or storms brewing around him.
When Arenado walked into the Rockies clubhouse on Monday morning before his squad started a three-game series against the San Francisco Giants at Coors Field, he was met by changes. Looking for anything to shake them out of a slump that includes losing five of the first six games of this homestand and seeing their Wild Card lead shrink to a half-game over the Milwaukee Brewers, the furniture was completely rearranged in the Colorado locker room.
Also, Arenado will have a new player next to him on the right side of the infield on Monday. Ian Desmond, signed in the offseason to solve Colorado’s need for a long-term first baseman, will play start at shortstop for the first time in a Major League game since October 4, 2015, when he was a member of the Washington Nationals.
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Desmond earned All-Star honors at shortstop in 2012 and earned three consecutive Silver Sluggers at the position while in Washington. He takes over (for Monday at least) for Trevor Story, who was 1-for-12 against Arizona with five strikeouts.
"“The good thing is that we’re not just trying at some position just to throw them there. I think he’s going to feel a little more natural. Maybe give him a little boost of energy going back to where he used to play in the day. Make him feel good again. You never know what that could do to someone,” Arenado told Rox Pile. “I’m excited. It will be fun to be on the left side with him.”"
Arenado returns to Monday’s lineup after not starting on Sunday. So far on the homestand, Arenado is 3-for-19 and was just 1-for-7 during a three-game sweep at the hands of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Since June 21 when the Rockies were 47-26, Colorado has gone 25-38. The .397 winning percentage is the worst in the National League during that time. Still, Arenado is staying patient and sticking to what has made him one of the game’s elite players.
"“I like to stick to my routines,” Arenado told Rox Pile. “Maybe take a little more deep breath or relax a little more. I stick to my routine. That’s what makes me who I am.“I feel good. I feel fresh. I’m ready to go. I’m going to try to hit the ball hard, make my plays and help this team win a ball game.”"
So what will it take for Colorado to turn things around in time to punch their first ticket to the postseason since 2009?
"“Just go play. Just go play and go compete,” Arenado said. “It’s going to turn. It’s going to turn. You have to believe it. I believe it will. You just have to go out there with confidence and think that good things will happen.”"