Colorado Rockies: Is the Holliday coming to an end in Albuquerque?
The Colorado Rockies are rolling. Is outfielder Matt Holliday what they need for the stretch drive? For the playoffs, if they make it? Good questions, those.
This is not the Matt Holliday of yore. At age 38, Holliday’s skills have clearly eroded. But he can still provide value as a pinch hitter for the Colorado Rockies. His experience may have more value than his aging legs. But that bat … what of that bat?
The results at Triple-A Albuquerque have, at best, been mixed. It’s hard to know if Holliday can catch up to fastballs. After all, he’s not seeing many of them. Pitchers, like the Tacoma Rainiers’ Bryan Evans on Tuesday night, are pitching Holliday slow, slower and even slower. Offspeed pitches are his nemesis. To watch him flail at a slider is to wonder if his time has passed.
Holliday did drive in two runs with his lone hit, a single, in five at-bats Tuesday, offering just enough to keep hope alive. In 10 games with the Isotopes, Holliday has 10 hits for a .256 batting average. He has two homers, 11 runs batted in and a .370 on-base percentage. He has struck out seven times in 39 at-bats.
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None of this is definitive, and there is still time for Holliday to round into better form in the next couple of weeks. But when September comes, and the playoffs begin in October, the Rockies will have to decide this: Is the veteran Holliday better than the alternatives at Albuquerque, such as outfielders Raimel Tapia, Mike Tauchman or Jordan Patterson, catcher Tom Murphy or third baseman Josh Fuentes? Fuentes, by the way, who is still better known as Rockies’ third baseman Nolan Arenado’s cousin, cracked a long home run Tuesday night and has 11 homers, 77 RBI and a .316 batting average in his breakout season in Albuquerque.
None of these names has the cachet of Holliday’s, and they certainly don’t have his experience at crunch time. But if it’s a bat off the bench you want, well then, is that our hero of good times past, or is it time for a new hero to emerge?