Runners on 1st…and 2nd Guesses: Nolan Arenado should hit third for the Colorado Rockies
By Aaron Hurt
Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado continues to be in his season-long slump and it may be time to move him up in the lineup just to shake things up.
I haven’t written one of these yet this season, but considering the current funk the Colorado Rockies have been in the last two weeks, I thought it was a good time to do a little bit of complaining and second-guessing … and this time it’s about Nolan Arenado.
It is said that the definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting different results. If that is the case, the Rockies need to do something different because this losing skid is insane.
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The Rockies are dropping like a rock in the standings having lost 11 of the last 13 games and it seems as if manager Bud Black is searching for answers. His all-world third baseman, Nolan Arenado, is stuck in a season-long slump, but Black continues to pencil him in the lineup as the cleanup hitter. It is time for a change.
Arenado has hit fourth in the lineup in every game this season except for two. He hit third in the second game of the season against the Texas Rangers and he sat out the Sunday game against Seattle Mariners on August 9, the day that this ugly stretch of losses began (this continues to be a huge debate between my friends and I if he should have sat out).
To get him going, and the Rockies for that matter, Bud Black needs to move him up in the lineup and hit him third. It is a small and insignificant move, but maybe by guaranteeing that Arenado will bat in the first inning instead of waiting around until the second, it will get him jump-started.
It is not as if he hasn’t hit in the three-hole in his career before. In fact, far from it. Last season, he hit third in 98 games compared to 53 at cleanup. For his career, he has more than 2,200 at-bats hitting third compared to more than 1,200 hitting fourth, with his average being a couple of points higher (.299 vs .297).
The biggest difference could come from not having a struggling Daniel Murphy hitting behind him and the possibility of a speedy Trevor Story, Raimel Tapia, or Garrett Hampson on the basepaths in front of him. He would see a lot more fastballs with those runners on base and pitchers won’t want to pitch around him with the dangerous Charlie Blackmon on deck.
Making this one move might not cure what is ailing the Rockies as they have plenty of other issues, but getting the best player on the team going again might be a good place to start.