Spilborghs assigned DH duty in Game 1
Righty swinger to bat ninth as designated hitter for Rockies
BOSTON -- The use of the designated hitter at Fenway Park in the World Series has given the Rockies the opportunity to start Ryan Spilborghs, who was selected by manager Clint Hurdle to bat in the ninth spot of the order against the Red Sox in Wednesday night's Game 1.
"Having another hitter in the lineup is not going to hurt," Hurdle said. "Spilborghs was involved in all three games here in Boston. And he's got some barrel to his bat.
"He's the best option we have to come in, and maybe [we can give] three or four at-bats to him and see if he can do something."
Spilborghs went 1-for-11 at Fenway, June 12-14. But Hurdle likes having Spilborghs at No. 9 to give the lineup continuity -- a guy who can bunt and run a little bit, leading up to Willy Taveras.
Spilborghs, who quickly became a fan favorite after being called up from Triple-A Colorado Springs in late May, started in center field throughout the Rockies' three-game sweep of the Phillies in the National League Division Series, with Taveras out with a right quadriceps strain. Overall, Spilborghs has appeared in five playoff games and has gone 3-for-10 (.300) with three walks and three strikeouts.
During the regular season, Spilborghs batted .299 with 11 home runs and 91 RBIs in 107 games. Spilborghs went 1-for-8 in two regular-season games as DH. He faced the Sox and Game 1 starter Josh Beckett on June 13, and went 0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored in the Rockies' 7-1 victory.
Spilborghs, 28, has been up and down between Triple-A and the Majors the last three seasons but has managed good numbers in slightly more than a season's worth of contests --.297 with 15 homers and 73 RBIs in 165 games.
With Spilborghs in, the Rockies will start six right-handed hitters -- switch-hitting Kazuo Matsui will bat left -- against the right-handed Beckett. The order will begin with Taveras, followed by Matsui, Matt Holliday, left-handed-hitting Todd Helton, Garrett Atkins, lefty-swinging Brad Hawpe, Troy Tulowitzki, Yorvit Torrealba and Spilborghs.
The Rockies could have gone with left-handed-hitting Cory Sullivan, who is 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI in his career against Beckett. But stacking the lineup with lefties makes little difference against Beckett, who held lefties to a .255 average and righties to .235 during a 20-7 regular season that likely will bring him the American League Cy Young Award.
"It's still going to depend on how Beckett pitches tonight," Hurdle said. "He's really good."
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.