Saturday 4X4: Arenado Begins Suspension; Blackman Back -- Hitting 3rd
Nolan Arenado is heading to Arizona for a couple days.
He decided to accept his five-game suspension for his part in the bench-clearing at Coors Field on Wednesday. By starting his suspension on Saturday, Arenado will miss the final two games in Washington this weekend, and the three-game series in Pittsburgh that begins on Monday.
He, however, will be back in the lineup when the Rockies return home to host the Cubs in a three-game series starting next Friday.
With Arenado out of the lineup, Blackmon, who had been sidelined with a right quad injury, not only was in the lineup on Saturday but he was hitting third, Arenado's normal spot, instead of lead-off, where he has hit the bulk of his career.
It didn't seem to bother Blackmon to move down in the lineup. In his first at-bat on Saturday he delivered a two-run home run off Nationals' right-hander Max Scherzer.
Blackmon was in the starting lineup hitting third for only the fifth time in his career. He came into a game in 2012 and 2014 and had one at-bat each time in the No. 3 slot.
He, however, was in the starting lineup hitting third twice in 2015 and twice in 2017, and was a combined 6-for-15 in those four games.
Meanwhile, rookie Ryan McMahon stepped in at third base in place of Arenado on Saturday, his first career big-league appearance at third base. McMahon, however, was drafted as a third baseman. Two years ago the Rockies began looking at him as a first baseman, knowing he could be blocked at third base by the presence of Arenado. His three previous starts this season have been at first base.
The Rockies 2-1 victory on Friday was their second 2-1 victory in their first 15 games this year. Big deal? Well, they have had more than two 2-1 wins in a season only 10 times in their first 25 years of existence.
DJ LeMahieu went into Saturday hitting .320 as a second baseman since the start of the 2015 season. That's the best among NL second basemen, and second in MLB to only Jose Altuve of the Astros.