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One guy represents the future of the Colorado Rockies, the other guy is probably only going to be with the team for a year. However, on Wednesday in Cincinnati, both players helped the Rockies win a baseball game, and a series, right now.
Nolan Arenado, the new face of the Rockies franchise, continued his breakout year. He went 2-for-4 with a three run home run that came in the 1st inning, propelling the Rockies to an early lead that would hold up against a struggling Reds team. Arenado’s blast came with two outs in the inning, something that became a theme for the Rockies on Wednesday.
The third baseman’s day brought his batting average back up to .287. He has 10 home runs, eight of which have come away from Coors Field, and 31 RBIs. Those numbers, even without looking at his defensive contributions, scream All-Star. However, in the totals that were revealed on Tuesday, Arenado sits in just fifth place in the National League third baseman race.
There isn’t too much more to be said about Arenado. His actions explain it. He went from being a guy the Rockies drafted who the club didn’t see being a good defensive third baseman to winning two gold gloves already. He then went from being a guy who the team was concerned would never turn the corner as an offensive threat to a guy who set the Rockies hitting streak record and hits consistently both at home and on the road.
Arenado has emerged as one of the best young players in the game of baseball. He plays with an all-out passion that is hard not to fall in love with. His old school approach is something that isn’t seen everyday anymore, and his drive to win is evident. The Rockies are fortunate to have a guy like Arenado on their team.
While Arenado was doing his thing, Kyle Kendrick quietly continued his resurgence. After his brilliant Opening Day start in Milwaukee, Kendrick was absolutely brutal. His cut fastball wasn’t cutting and his changeup was ending up in the seats. However, his past three starts have been exactly what the Rockies were hoping for when they signed him in the offseason.
Kendrick went 7-1/3 innings, giving up four runs on five hits. He walked one and struck out one. It was a performance that was far better than the box score says. Three of the four runs came in the 8th inning after he was fatigued, and when Boone Logan came in to replace him and walked two men, including one with the bases loaded.
The right-hander started Opening Day but was never supposed to be an ace. He was supposed to be a guy who could pitch every fifth day, get guys out and save the bullpen. In five straight starts he looked like a guy who belonged working at a desk rather than a professional athlete. Since his start in Anaheim two weeks ago, however, Kendrick has been very, very good for the Rockies.
As mentioned, Kendrick doesn’t need to throw eight shutout innings every time he takes the mound. He just needs to be dependable enough for the offense to feel confident that if they give him a lead that he will be able to maximize his chances and not give up huge innings.
The Rockies win gave them their first road series victory in a month. Despite coming against the Reds, a team that is struggling greatly, the Rockies looked very good in the three game set. They looked like a team that had put a horrible month of May behind them and figured out at least a few of the issues going on. Their starting pitching was good, their offense was very good in two games and the bullpen, despite having a few issues, got the job done when they needed to.
This Rockies team isn’t one that is going to contend. This is a year in which the story of the team will be how they change the mindset in the clubhouse and go from a losing team to a winning team. In May, Rockies fans have seen both the good and the very bad. Where the Rockies go for the rest of 2015 is something that should keep fans intrigued.