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Nick Hundley's attitude is exactly what the Colorado Rockies need

David Martin Avatar
May 20, 2015

 

The Colorado Rockies signed Nick Hundley in the offseason with very little fanfare. The catcher is known for his light bat and good defense.

What fans didn’t realize they would get with Hundley is a winning attitude. The Rockies catcher has been no slouch at the plate, as he showed by drilling the game winning home run on Tuesday night at a freezing Coors Field to give the Rockies a 6-5  win over the Phillies. The home run backed up his words from Monday night, following a disappointing Rockies loss.

Hundley had been ejected on Monday night for arguing an appealed check swing in which first base umpire Hunter Wendelstedt. The call made the count 1-2 instead of 2-1. When Hundley popped out he rounded first base and let Wendelstedt know what he thought about the call. The argument that ensued cost Hundley the remainder of the game. However, it was a good sign for the Rockies.

After the game Hundley told the Denver Post’s Nick Groke “We can’t just sit here and hope and wish and think it’s OK. We have to play better as a team, all the way around — offensively, defensively, situationally, starters, bullpen. We have to play better — to a man.”

It is one thing to say it and it is another thing to go out and do something about it. Hundley backed up his words on Tuesday night, taking a 5-5 game into his own hands in the 8th inning. The third home run of the season propped Hundley’s batting average up to .307. That is a number that is almost certain to go down, considering his career average is .241.

Hundley is on the team so that he can help the young pitching staff. However, his attitude is exactly what the Rockies have been in desperate need of. Instead of feeling sorry for himself and the team for playing as poorly as they have been for the past four weeks, Hundley has made no excuses. He has owned up to his portion of responsibility and he has shown that he can take that attitude onto the field.

The home run came right when it seemed like the Rockies were once again going to find another way to lose. After a Troy Tulowitzki bloop double that gave the Rockies a 5-3 lead, lefty reliever Boone Logan gave away both runs and the Phillies had the momentum in their favor. After loading the bases with one out, rookie Scott Oberg came on and got a double play to end the threat. However, the Rockies looked like they were in trouble. Nothing was going their way and it was becoming a very familiar situation.

Hundley was the hero on Tuesday, but starter Chad Bettis deserves much of the credit for the victory. He pitched six strong innings, giving up three runs on eight hits. He struck out five and didn’t walk a batter. Take notice of how often the Rockies, or any team in Major League Baseball, find themselves on the winning end of the scoreboard when their starter doesn’t allow a walk.

Bettis struggled in the 2nd and 3rd innings, giving up two and one run respectively. However, he was able to bounce back and get through three more scoreless frames to keep the Rockies in the game.

There is no denying that the Rockies offense has struggled greatly. When an offense is in a rut, the best thing that a team can have is for their starting pitcher to give them an outing that gives them a chance to break through and get a big hit that can win the game. If a team that is struggling doesn’t feel like they are in a situation where they have to put up a big inning every time they go to the plate, they have a better chance of getting the one big hit when they need it.

Bettis’ outing is the latest in a run of improved starts for the Rockies. If this staff can continue to give the club good outings, the Rockies will end their spiral and at least be a team that has a chance to win every night. They may not be contenders, but they can regain the respect that they have lost over the past four seasons.

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