Nolan Arenado had a hard time hiding his frustration following the Colorado Rockies’ 3-2 loss to the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday.
The Rockies All-Star third baseman was responsible for driving in both of his team’s runs with a two-run homer to dead center in the sixth. Outside of that, a Rockies offense that managed just one other hit looked toothless. It’s looked that way a lot recently. And Arenado’s noticed.
“It’s just not good enough,” Arenado said on AT&T Sportsnet’s post-game broadcast. “That’s just what it is. You’ve got to shorten up, and you’ve got to change. We can’t be just swinging for the fences the way it looks like we are. We’ve got to find a way to get on. And we’re not doing that.”
The Rockies, who are 4-10 in their last 14 games, have limped through the last two weeks. A lackluster offense is the biggest reason why. During that stretch of games, the Rockies have scored four or more runs only four times.
Tuesday night was a low point. Royals lefty Danny Duffy baffled the Rockies as they struck out 10 times and mustered only three hard-hit balls all game.
Don’t be fooled: Despite the occasional 17-run game at Coors Field, this is not a very good offense. It’s far too top heavy. Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado have both been magnificent this year. You can make an MVP case for either of them, and no one will laugh at you. DJ LeMahieu, who’s sandwiched between those two in the order, is as steady as ever. He’s on pace for an 186-hit season. Colorado runs into problems when it gets to the middle and bottom of the order.
Trevor Story is striking out in more than one in three trips to the plate. His 36.4 percent strikeout percentage is the third-highest in the MLB. Carlos Gonzalez has shown signs of figuring it out lately, but even so, his slugging percentage (.363) is well below his .507 career average. Mark Reynolds started the season off red-hot, but he’s regressed. Since the start of July, he’s slashing .243/.327./444 with a 32.7 percent strikeout rate.
All of that — plus Ian Desmond being in and out of the lineup with injuries — has added up to the Rockies ranking second-to-last in baseball in park-adjusted offense.
The Rockies woke up Wednesday morning with a three-game lead over the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Wild Card race. They’re in danger of letting that big lead they built up over the first 2 1/2 months of the season slip away, especially with a brutal slate of games in September looming.
Colorado needs to start taking better at-bats. The pitching has been there.
Perhaps Arenado’s message Tuesday night will spark something.
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