In the Colorado Rockies 7-5 win over the Chicago Cubs on Thursday, one of the players in the backup catcher mix, Tom Murphy, helped his chances of winning the spot with his performance.
Tom Murphy had an excellent day on Thursday for the Rockies as he went 2-for-3 with a solo home run and a 3-run double in the Rockies 7-5 win over the Cubs in Mesa on Thursday.
Unlike Wolters, Murphy is out of minor league options (as our own Aaron Hurt noted in this article about Murphy and other Rockies that are out of minor league options) and, at least offensively, Murphy has hit .313 with a 1.139 OPS compared to Wolters .182 average and .455 OPS.
After the game, Murphy spoke to the media, including our own Kevin Henry, on his game and his spring training thus far.
Murphy hit his home run off Cubs minor league pitcher Wyatt Short and Murphy said that since he “didn’t really have much information about the guy,” he wanted to take a few pitches to see what he had. He said that he started him off with changeups and he saw them pretty well. The third pitch was a fastball that he “pretty much recognized it right out of the hand and was able to put a good swing on it.” That was the pitch he hit for a home run.
He also said that his main objective this spring is “to cut down on my strikeouts, having more quality at-bats. As long as I do that, I’m going to be in a good place throughout the spring.” He said that at this point, to achieve that, “I’m just trying to be as calm and relaxed in the box as I possibly can be.”
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Antonio Senzatela was the Rockies starter in the game and while he got the win, he did struggle a bit as he gave up six hits and three runs (all earned) in just three innings. However, Murphy took most of the responsibility.
"“‘Senza’ has got unbelievable command,” said Murphy. “Maybe the first couple of innings were on me a little bit, where I wasn’t getting to the corners enough for him…For me, it was adjusting to him because he was doing his job out there. And he did a great job of executing from there on out.”"
While Senzatela struggled a bit by the results, Murphy mentioned how Rockies pitching coach Steve Foster told him that in the first eight innings, the Rockies pitchers through 29 out of the 35 first pitches for strikes, or 83 percent.
Murphy also spoke about how he likes calling spring training games because it is more “instinctual” because they don’t have as much information in Spring Training on hitters.
He also compared calling Spring Training games to regular season games to a puzzle.
"“I can go back there and feel like I’m really putting pieces of the puzzle together, as opposed to having the puzzle already half-made. As long as I can get on the same page with that with my pitchers, that’s where you really start to develop the trust that builds throughout the year.”"
Rockies manager Bud Black spoke about Murphy in his meeting with the media after the game, including our own Kevin Henry.
"“I think ‘Murph’ does a nice job of game-calling. He’s got good feel, he’s got great conviction in what he calls, which is great. He has a plan. With that said, the whole aspect of his game is much improved over what we saw two years ago and that’s a tribute to Murph. He’s playing well, he’s playing hard, he swung the at today, so some really good signs from Murph.”"
As we wrote earlier this week, Black said that the Rockies carrying two catchers is “doubtful” so If Murphy continues playing like he did on Thursday, he may find himself on the Rockies opening day roster in Miami.