In the bottom of the fifth of Tuesday’s 3-1 win, Josh Fuentes hit a grounder to Oakland shortstop Marcus Semien. Running hard down the baseline, he beat the throw for a single, and Semien’s throw escaped first baseman Matt Olson. Fuentes wasted little time advancing to third on the error.
The hustle seemed to spark some energy in the Colorado dugout. The next batter, Elias Diaz, added to that energy by blasting a two-run homer, the first of the season for any Rockies catcher.
After the game, I asked Fuentes if he felt the energy shift on the Rockies side because of his hustle.
"“Yeah, a hundred percent. I felt like I was having a decent at-bat, seeing some pitches and, especially after putting the ball in play and I saw it was kind of deep short, I thought I had a real chance of beating that out. “I think that’s what we need as a team. We have to grind. We have to grind out at-bats. This game is so hard, and especially the teams we are playing, these guys are tough. So we have to just grind at-bats and try to spark something. This game’s really, really hard. “I think it’s the overall sense is that we have to grind these at-bats out. You know, there’s only few games left and we’re trying to make it.”"
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Thoughts: Colorado GM Jeff Bridich described Kevin Pillar as a “grinder” after acquiring him near the trade deadline. While Pillar has struggled recently, the mentality is what Colorado’s upper brass seems to be looking for.
It’s clear that Fuentes is battling right now for what his role might be in 2021. Can his hustle help set the tone for a team trying to scrap its way into the postseason? Time will tell, but it’s clear that Fuentes is going to be doing his part at the plate to make every at-bat count.