© 2024 ALLCITY Network Inc.
All rights reserved.
DENVER – It’s no secret that being down 2-0 in a five game series less than ideal in any competition.
In baseball, recording just ten hits during 19 innings of play is also a poor statistic to reflect upon.
But Bud Black has tweaked the lineup in order to help the offense settle into a groove during the early innings against Brewers starting pitcher Wade Miley.
One key addition is veteran Matt Holliday batting fifth behind Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story, who will bat consecutively for the first time this series after being split up by a left-handed bat in games one and two.
Black addressed the addition of Holliday with the media before Game 3.
“I think we need his bat in the lineup, try to generate some offense. I think you saw that against the Cubs on Tuesday night with Lester. I think our right-handed bats against a lefty, Matt included, I think will give Miley a little bit more of a dangerous effect.”
Miley, a minor-league signing for the Brewers in the offseason, has had to re-invent himself as a starter, adding a few miles-per-hour on his fastball and changing his approach from his early years with Arizona.
Crediting these adjustments by Miley, Black touched upon the lefty’s development into a pitcher who held a 2.57 ERA through 16 starts this season.
“It says a lot about him, right, the evolution of pitchers who pass the test of time. There’s usually something in there that there’s a — I wouldn’t say a drastic change, but you see a guy evolved… Now he’s sort of turned into a guy that sort of two-seams the ball, has developed a little cutter/slider. He varies the shape on it. But that’s part of a guy who has the aptitude and the wherewithal to make changes, and he’s done it.”
Miley’s approach to Rockies hitters on Sunday is already well-known by coaches and players alike, according to Black.
“You’re going to see it in on the hands of the righty, down and away to probably CarGo and Tony, but it’s an in-and-out attack, mostly down with sink, so we’ve got to get the ball up. We’ve got to get it up over the plate. If he makes a mistake, we’ve got to be ready to hit it.”
Story, 0-for-8 with five strikeouts, has gone back to chasing pitches out of the zone and has gotten out the rhythm he’s developed throughout the 2018 season.
“There was some coaching yesterday (with Story). There were some conversations. There were some cage work, but a lot of it is — which is great, that he self-admitted that he got a little anxious in those two games. So that’s the first step.”
The second step included a get-together between Story, Black and bench coach Mike Redmon.
“He and I talked yesterday, Mike was in the conversation, and I’m sure there were probably a number of people who talked to Trevor, right, about, hey, relax. Those at-bats were atypical of what you’ve done this season. And now Trevor, I think, with the day off yesterday should be — time will tell. That’s why we play. But I suspect his at bats will be better.”
Black also addressed how special it will be to play a home game at Coors Field, the first since October 12, 2009. Just a mere 3,282 days ago.
“Yeah, it’s great. I was telling a few people earlier this morning what a great day for Rockies baseball and for Rockies fans. It’s going to be raucous out there. It’s going to be great. It’s going to be loud. It’s going to be cold, but I’m sure that our people are ready for that. They are experienced Denver climate people. I’m excited for everybody here, the organization, the fans, players, for all of baseball, to see Denver on a big stage. It’s good stuff.”
Possibly the most interesting piece of communication between Black and the press was his answer regarding today’s elimination game becoming one that is all-hands-on-deck, and if it could feature Kyle Freeland coming out of the bullpen.
“Yes. Potentially yes. Yeah.”
If the Rockies need Kyle Freeland to win this game and the Milwaukee bullpen isn’t taxed once again, it may be even more uphill battle for Colorado to win this series with two more straight victories required, including a Game Five victory at Miller Park.