Stewart getting into full swing for Rox
Third baseman has rebounded in a big way from dismal June
DENVER -- Rockies manager Jim Tracy and Ian Stewart had a candid conversation in Tracy's office Saturday afternoon, about Stewart not playing in that evening's game against the Padres. Still, Stewart had a wry smile on his face.
The Colorado third baseman knew full well he was 0-for-8 with six strikeouts lifetime against Padres starter Wade LeBlanc. And despite Stewart's recent hot streak, Tracy was holding him out.
Sure enough, Stewart was back at it on Sunday.
Starting at third for the series finale, Stewart entered the game 8-for-19 with four extra-base hits -- including two homers -- and 10 RBIs through nine games of the homestand.
"That is the player we know he's capable of being day in and day out," Tracy said.
Stewart hit a dismal .167 in June, but has bounced back to hit .421 in July. He had six RBIs, including a two-run homer and the Rockies' first grand slam of the year, on Friday.
"I'm just trying to be aggressive," Stewart said. "That's the way my mentality's been the last couple weeks when I've had some good at-bats."
Mora jack-of-all-trades for Rockies
DENVER -- Coming into the season, veteran Melvin Mora knew his role with the Rockies would be different from what he's grown accustomed to.
An everyday third baseman for nine seasons with the Orioles, the 38-year-old Mora has served in a utility role for the Rockies this season. Days like his 2-for-4 evening with a homer in the second inning on Saturday are why the partnership is working out for both parties.
"I try to play all different positions and wherever [manager] Jim Tracy needs me," Mora said. "It's exciting for me and the team, in case somebody gets hurt, because they have me there to play all positions. That's good, especially in the National League."
Mora has started games at first base, second base, third base and left field.
The home run on Saturday was Mora's first with the Rockies, as well as his first in 170 at-bats. He hadn't gone yard since September 19, 2009, against the Red Sox.
Tracy said Mora gives the team extra versatility in a variety of situations.
"He's a very professional player," Tracy said. "He's in tune to what's going on every single play of the game. He's not your prototypical No. 4 hole hitter, but we've got an awfully good No. 3 hole hitter right now and if they're going to mess around and pass on Carlos Gonzalez, I want a very professional hitter behind him. That's exactly what Melvin More brings to the table.
"He's been nothing but a plus to this team."
Herrera proving to be reliable option
DENVER -- The Rockies weren't sure what their situation would be at second base when shortstop Troy Tulowitzki went down with an injury and Clint Barmes moved from second to short.
They've since gathered a fine idea of what it's like day in, day out.
Jonathan Herrera has emerged as a dependable substitute, notching a hit in all but one of the 22 straight games he's started at second base.
Herrera stretched his current hit streak to 11 with an RBI triple in Sunday's 9-7 loss to the Padres. During his streak, Herrera is hitting .395 as he's gone 34-for-93 with 10 RBIs and 12 runs scored in the last 22 games.
"The beauty about our organization, and the beauty about our team is, we have some really good players on this team that allow us to look at other players -- if their attitude, character and makeup is of the Colorado Rockie nature -- and they can be wonderful contributors," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said.
"Jonny Herrera fits right into that category."
Tracy said the opportunity for growth among veterans in the Rockies' clubhouse, and his role solely as a contributor, has helped Herrera contribute routinely.
"If you turn the tables on [Herrera] and put him on a club where [he's] presumed to be or interpreted as foundation guys, you're going to be disappointed in the player," Tracy said.
Rox bullpen enjoying July baseball
DENVER -- The Colorado bullpen is enjoying seeing its July ERA reduced as part of a month-by-month bell curve this season.
After posting an impressive ERA of 2.39 in April, the group finished at 3.86 in May and 5.55 in June.
"Sometimes you're going to go through phases where you give up runs," reliever Randy Flores said. "Luckily, it's been one month out of three and we're still in it."
The bullpen's ERA in July was 3.44 entering Sunday's series finale with the Padres, as the Rockies 'pen notched a 4-1 record through 34 innings of work in July.
Flores pointed to Huston Street, whom he called "an elite closer," as part of the reason the bullpen's numbers have improved. Since returning on June 22, Street has five saves in five opportunities.
Additionally, relievers Matt Belisle, Joe Beimel and Rafael Betancourt have combined for two runs in their last 6 2/3 innings. Flores has allowed just two hits and two runs in his last 2 2/3 innings.
Still, Flores said, the bullpen is welcoming a breather in the next few days.
"The All-Star break, whoever made up the schedule, works magic," Flores said. "It always seems to come at the perfect time every year."
Joey Nowak is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.