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Nolan Arenado is becoming the new face of the Colorado Rockies

David Martin Avatar
May 26, 2015


Move over Tulo, Nolan Arenado is the new face of the Colorado Rockies franchise.

The Rockies won 5-4 on Monday, scoring the winning run against Reds closer Aroldis Chapman in the 9th inning. That makes it three straight wins for the purple pinstripes. Three straight might not sound like a big deal, but considering the fact that this team lost 11 straight earlier this month, three feels like a huge step in the right direction.

On Monday, coming off of short rest after arriving at the team hotel at 3 am local time, the Rockies could have turned over and sacrificed a game in Cincinnati. They were coming off of a weekend in which all four games throughout the weekend series with the Giants were subject to rain delays. A late night on Sunday and a day game on Monday, while losing two hours in time difference, meant the Rockies were going to be tired.

Based on the way they played, it would have been hard to tell that they were short on sleep.

From the 1st inning to the 9th inning, Nolan Arenado delivered. He drove in the first run of the game in the top of the 1st inning against former Rockie Jason Marquis with a single and drove in the game-winner in the 9th inning with a sacrifice fly to deep center field. In between he made two phenomenal defensive plays, once again diving into the stands to catch a ball and on another play diving backwards about 80 feet from the batter while defensing a bunt-turned-smash.

Sandwiched between the 1st inning and 9th inning RBIs was a no-doubt two-out homer in the 4th inning off of Marquis that gave the Rockies a 4-2 lead. In all, Arenado went 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs.

For Rockies fans, it is almost becoming expected that Arenado is going to make a great play. It happens so routinely that the novelty of a phenomenal play is almost subsiding into simply expecting something great day-in and day-out. The third baseman is so good at the hot corner that when a ball skips passed him and into left field, the quiet thought of wondering whether Arenado is ok or not creeps into almost everyone’s mind.

In the 8th inning, with the game tied at four, Arenado raced to into foul ground to chase Skip Shumaker’s fly ball. He shouldn’t have gotten there, but reached deep into the seats, made the grab, then tumbled into the seats where he scraped his throat. However, he came up with the ball and helped Rockies reliever Rafael Betancourt get through the 8th inning unscathed.

In the bottom of the 6th with one out and the go-ahead run at first base and speedster Billy Hamilton at the plate, everyone in the park was thinking that Hamilton would lay down a bunt. Arenado was about 85 feet away from the plate, ready to charge if Hamilton squared. The Reds centerfielder never squared, instead lining a ball between short and third base. It looked like it would be a base hit. However, Arenado dove nearly backwards, snaring the line drive and recording the out.

The play was phenomenal, but the situation made it that much better. Had Arenado not snagged that ball, the Reds would have been looking at a first and third, or at least a first and second situation with just one out. Instead, they had a runner on first with two outs. It changed the dynamics of the inning, and in a tie game, it changed the dynamics of the game.

The reality is simple. Troy Tulowitzki is the most talented player on the Rockies. He might be the most talented of all time. However, listed to people around Denver talk. People aren’t talking about the talent level of Tulowitzki, they are talking about the versatility and the amazing plays that Arenado makes night-in and night-out. He isn’t just delivering at the field, he is also delivering at the plate.

Arenado is breaking out of a slump. When he is hitting well, much like Tulowitzki, the team is tough to beat. They might not be the greatest team, but having a guy like Arenado at third base and at the plate makes it really fun to watch.

Before the end of the season, fans may be more excited about the fact that they get to watch Nolan Arenado than they are about a great player like Troy Tulowitzki.


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