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Rockies Notebook: Dodgers come to Denver for biggest series of year

Patrick Lyons Avatar
August 9, 2018

DENVER – Before each game at Coors Field, manager Bud Black addresses the media in the Rockies first base dugout. The focus typically pertains to the daily goings-on of Colorado, but can oftentimes touch on varied topics around the sport.

Here’s a taste of what some of that discussion was focused upon before game one of a four-game series with the Dodgers:

On this being the biggest series of the year for the Rockies:

“Big series. I think all series here on out are big. I think we have to do everything we can to try to win each and every game. There’s no doubt that when you’re in division, when you’re playing a team like the Dodgers—who sort of set the standard in our division for the last number of years—they’re the team that we need to take down.”

-Black also mentioned the Diamondbacks and Giants as being other key divisional series. He added that perhaps the Giants “had one more run in them.”

Importance for the offense to have a good series against the Dodgers:

“I think it’s important that we show up as we move forward as soon as possible. We have been pitching well. We know that there’s going to be given nights where we’re going to be shut down. We’re going to have to win a 2-1 game. We’re going to have to win a 3-2 game, 4-3 game… I think with us, as a group, when we win we win together. When we lose, we lose together. There’s not one facet that will really determine how we go. With the exception of this: if we don’t starting pitch, we’re going to be in trouble.”

Tyler Anderson has struggled with his release point and what can be done to help him:

-Black feels Anderson has done well this season, overall. The previous game against the Los Angeles featured Anderson performing well. He needs to attack the strike zone early, getting counts in his favor, and putting guys away. This will be critical for tonight.

“I don’t think there’s a quick fix. If that happens (with his release point), we can notice it and make him aware and maybe go back to the pitch that’s most comfortable for him.”

On Chris Rusin’s return:

“The game will dictate how we use him. I’m glad to have him back. Hopefully, he gets up to speed pretty quick with some good performance and gain some confidence. With guys who’ve struggled this year, for me, it’s been about confidence. If you have confidence, you have a tendency to make better pitches and pitch more aggressively. I think Chris was pitching a little tentatively…. When you’re sort of pitching on the fringes and walking some people—which is unnatural for him—I think we’ve got to get back to the Chris Rusin that is really aggressive and attacking the zone.”

The overall confidence on this team stemming from the playoff appearance last year:

-Even at the start of last year, through the rough spells of last year, the confidence level of the club has maintained well, according to Black. It’s a confident group, undoubtedly.

On coaching against a divisional team in which they’re so familiar:

“I think you really try to exploit some of the things that have popped up over the year with certain hitters, as far as you attack there. There’s really no secrets in each team that you play a lot does. Because of all the repetitions you have against certain teams, you can see certain trends with pitcher-hitter matchups that you can maybe try to take advantage of, both ways.”

“In a way, I wouldn’t say it’s easier. When you know players, you know what players can do and what they can’t do. So, it doesn’t surprise you a lot when things happen, good or bad.”

On the new-look lineup for the Dodgers with recent additions of Machado and Dozier:

-Since both players are All-Star caliber, Black feels they are getting caught up quickly to different pitchers and features of the National League.

On the bullpen’s sense—particularly Shaw and McGee—that they need to start meeting expectations:

“Those guys know that where we are is a position to strike as a team to make the playoffs. They understand the importance of each and every game and each and every outing that they have. I like the fact that almost all those guys have been through a pennant race, with the exception of Musgrave. They have a lot of pride.”

On catching lightning in a bottle with win streaks and playing an incredible stretch of baseball:

“If history serves, there’s been no team understood that more than this one in 2007. It’s a historic run. It will probably never happen again. Historic. I was there to witness it on the other side (as manager of the Padres).”

“When we won seven in a row, I think starting pitchers started to gain a lot of momentum with each other and they just fed off of each other’s great performance…. We’re very capable of doing some good things.”

 

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