DENVER -- There was no bad luck involved with save No. 13 for Huston Street.The Rockies' closer needed just nine pitches to shut the door on the Giants in Colorado's 7-4 victory on Monday, an effort aided, the right-hander said, by a slight adjustment to his stride. "The season is a constant adjustment, really," said Street, whose 13 saves are second in the Major Leagues behind Florida's Leo Nunez (15). "You try to get your mechanics as close as possible, and I think I had gotten away from that a little bit to where I was overstriding." Street has worked with pitching coach Bob Apodaca the last few days on shortening that stride, drawing a line in the bullpen dirt to mark an ending point in Street's delivery. Street has done dry reps without a ball to focus on the new mechanics. "We're probably going to keep that up over the next four or five days, because you don't reinvent yourself in a couple days," Street said. "It's a small adjustment, just a little tweak here, but it's going to help me get better plane on all my pitches."
Tracy patient with Fowler's learning curve
DENVER -- Rockies center fielder Dexter Fowler's RBI single during the Rockies' five-run sixth inning in their 7-4 victory over the Giants on Monday lifted his average with runners in scoring position to .385, tops on the team. The key hit was part of an odd night for Fowler, who went 2-for-3 with two walks but had three peculiar plays on the bases.Fowler walked in the first, then took off for second before Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum even moved and was thrown out easily. In the sixth, he bolted from first to third on a single. Problem was the runner ahead of him, catcher Jose Morales, wasn't intending to run home. In the eighth, Fowler stopped between first and second on a hit-and-run mixup and was caught in a rundown. Manager Jim Tracy said the last one was a miscommunication between Tracy and third-base coach Rich Dauer. The play in which Morales was tagged easily at the plate brought a quiet conversation in the dugout, but Tracy was careful not to come down on Fowler. Tracy also made it a point not to react visibly to the ill-fated steal attempt in the first inning. Fowler has speed, as evidenced by his ability to move on batted balls and chase down flies in center field, but the Rockies are working on his instincts in the running game. He is just 2-for-7 on steal attempts this season. Embarrassing a player or punishing every mistake, Tracy said, is not the way to develop those skills. "I know this: Once he starts racing around second base, unfortunately I'm not allowed to run out there and throw a chop block," Tracy said, laughing. "If I was over at Mile High, Invesco [where football's Denver Broncos play], I might be able to do that, or throw that red flag that they have in their pocket when they want to review something. "You encourage aggressiveness, knowing that there are going to be times when you're going to have a sit-down with the player. And that line of questioning is not to demean them or discourage them, but let's talk about what took place ... What did you see? ... Here's what I saw. So the next time it shows up, you're anxious to see what the reaction is."
Herrera's approach serves a purpose
DENVER -- Players commonly have batter's-box rituals that include drawing in the dirt with either end of the bat. In some cases, these hieroglyphics have no meaning. They're just motions of superstition. Sometimes they're messages to an inspirational figure or secret messages the player never reveals.But efficient Rockies No. 2 hitter Jonathan Herrera has a purpose, even for his scribbling. Herrera draws a line from the apex of the pentagon that is home plate to the position of his back foot in the batter's box. Then he draws a line that extends from the front edge of the plate to the edge of the batter's box. And he doesn't mind saying why. "It works for me because I used to throw my [front] foot a little toward home plate [rather than toward the mound]," Herrera said. "I'd hit the ball middle-away pretty well, but I used to have trouble with the one inside. I want to stay inside-out with my swing. When I made those lines, it made me more consistent. I can recognize when I move my foot toward home plate, rather than staying square. "That's different, but it's what I do." Herrera said he began doing the guideline -- he's a switch-hitter, and he does the same from both sides -- in 2008, his first Triple-A season. This season, it has worked for him, to the tune of a .292 batting average, two home runs, eight RBIs and a .388 on-base percentage. But even with those numbers, his stride can miss at times. "Sometimes I'll take a pitch, then I'll look down at my foot and it's over the line, so I have to adjust," he said.
Rockies infielder Jose Lopez, who entered Tuesday with a .185 average but 5-for-12 (.417) during the current homestand, was in the starting lineup for the third straight game on Tuesday. That had not happened since April 29-May 1 against the Pirates. For all the nervousness over his slow start, Carlos Gonzalez entered Tuesday not far off last year's pace in come key categories. Last year, he won the National League batting crown with a .336 average and finished with 34 home runs and 117 RBIs. Last year at this point, he had five home runs, one more than this season, and one double fewer -- six this year, five last. Gonzalez is the pitch man for a promotion that rewards fans with food from a national taco chain whenever the team scores at least seven runs in a game. Gonzalez, along with Tom Helmer of Root Sports, star in the latest, which involves a large number of children and something called the "taco dance." Did Gonzalez enjoy making the moves? "Of course, I'm Venezuelan," he said. "The only problem was we shot it at 8:30 in the morning."
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb Nick Kosmider is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.