Colorado Rockies: Confident Brendan Rodgers has a career night
By Duane DaPron
For Brendan Rodgers of the Colorado Rockies, his comeback at the plate started innocently enough with a couple of well-placed hits at the end of April.
From there, it continued with a torrid month of May in which the Colorado Rockies second baseman batted at a .347 clip with seven doubles, a pair of home runs, 18 runs batted in, and 10 multi-hit games while compiling a then career-long 17-game hitting streak.
Brendan Rodgers’ resurgence continued Wednesday night on the first day of June with perhaps a career-best performance to boost the Colorado Rockies.
In the second game of a doubleheader and the finale of a three-game set with Miami at Coors Field, he swatted three home runs, including a walk-off two-run homer in the bottom of the 10th inning, to rally Colorado to a stunning 13-12 victory to clinch a series win against the Marlins.
The victory, in which the Rockies (23-27) rallied from deficits four times in the contest, was the team’s initial walk-off win of 2022 and the first walk-off RBI for Rodgers.
“Three homers. I don’t think I’ve hit three homers ever in my life, not even Little League, travel ball, minor leagues,” Rodgers said of his first multi-home run contest. “This is the first time. So I’m definitely going to remember this one forever.”
Per Elias Sports Bureau, Rodgers is the first player in the Majors to sock a walk-off home run for his third homer of a game since Eddie Rosario accomplished the feat for the Minnesota Twins against the Cleveland Indians on June 3, 2018.
He also becomes the first National League player to do so since Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds accomplished the distinction against the Washington Nationals on May 13, 2012.
He is now the second Rockies player with the distinction as he joins Todd Hollandsworth did so against Arizona on April 15, 2001.
Colorado manager Bud Black, in his post-game comments to media, recognized the significance of Rodgers’ feat Wednesday night.
“Obviously, that was a big homer at the end — for us and for Brendan,” Black said of the line drive over the left field fence that scored pinch runner Yonathan Daza ahead of him for the game-winner after Miami (20-28) had scored a run in the top of the 10th inning to take a 12-11 lead.
“A lot of expectations nationwide for this young player and some of the pressure that he puts on himself,” Black added about Rodgers. “But tonight, offensively, was what he’s capable of. That power, good swings. A special night. Three homer runs in one game.
“Big lift at the end, obviously, for the team after a tough first-game (14-1 Rockies loss) and then that back-and-forth, seesaw Coors FIeld special.”
After the Rox notched a 10-17 mark in May for a .370 winning percentage, the team’s lowest since a .357 percentage in 2012 (10-18 record in May of that year) and had dropped their last seven series, Rodgers understands the importance of capturing two of the three games against Miami.
“I think we needed that series win, especially after the kind of butt-kickin’ we took the first game today,” he said after crossing the plate four times in the series clincher. “But we bounced back quick with little turnaround. We came out swinging early and it was a good win today,”
Rodgers’ first two homers were solo blasts to lead off the third and fifth innings. His four-RBI game was his fourth of the 2022 season. He is one of six MLB players this season to have three or more games with at least four runs batted in.
With his three homers, the 15th player in franchise history to achieve the feat and first since Ryan McMahon against Arizona on April 6, 2021, Rodgers extended his current hitting streak to a career-best 19 games.
That streak is the longest for a Rockie since Carlos Gonzalez amassed a 19-game streak in 2016 and is the longest streak by a second baseman in franchise history.
Rodgers’ torrid hitting in May and tremendous start to June comes on the heels of him batting just .078 (4-for-51) with one double and no homers in 14 April contests.
What has been the difference maker for Rodgers since his slow start?
“A lot of it is confidence,” he said. “I got a couple of bleeders toward the end of April, early May that kind of really got me feeling good and confident. Instead of walking up to the plate thinking negative thoughts, I’ve kind of changed the mindset into going up there and trying to hit the ball hard, thinking positive, thinking I’m going to get a hit, and good things happen.”
Good things happened for Rodgers on Wednesday night, in bunches.
“(Before Wednesday), I didn’t have a walk-off homer ever in my life here,” he said. “So, I have a lot of firsts today. First two-homer game, first three-homer game, first walk-off homer … a lot of cool things today.”
For Brendan Rodgers, there is likely to be many more firsts yet to come as his MLB career unfolds.