Thursday 4X4: The Hits Keep Coming
The top three spots in the Rockies lineup are as dangerous as any lineup in baseball. They spend a lot of time on base. In fact, since the start of the 2017 season, Charlie Blackmon and DJ LeMahieu are tied for the NL lead with 40 games in which they have had three or more hits, and Nolan Arenado, with 28 games, ranks 10th in the NL.
Take a deep breath. Don't let 13 games obscure the big picture. There has been too much made about the struggles of players coming off the bench, particularly Pat Valaika. Yes,it is a big adjustment for rookies, like Ryan McMahon or Michael Tauchman, who are used to playing every day. Valaika, however, has established the fact he can handle part-time duty. He was among the best in the business coming off the bench last year, and who knows, snapping the club's 0-for-22 in pinch-hit situations this year with a single in the third inning on Wednesday could be the turnaround for the bench battallion.
It's only April, but there is reason to be excited about Adam Ottavino. After a nightmarish 2017 when he had trouble throwing strikes, Ottavino spent the off-season re-evaluating his approach to pitching. He showed up in spring training confident he would be dominating once again in 2018. So far, so good. Unscored up in eight innings, he has walked only one batter and struck out 16, giving up just one hit. All of which has him ranked among the best bullpen arms in 2018.