WASHINGTON -- The more Rockies veteran hitter Michael Cuddyer knows, the less he thinks.
Cuddyer's simple approach has helped him become one of the most successful hitters in the National League. Cuddyer extended his hitting streak to 21 games with a home run in his first at-bat Sunday in Washington. The streak is the longest active streak in the Majors and has now eclipsed David Freese's run earlier this year for the longest in baseball this season. Cuddyer also had reached base in a club-record 40 straight games.
Cuddyer added an RBI single in his next at-bat Sunday, then followed that with a two-run single in his third plate appearance.
This is Cuddyer's 13th season in the Majors, which means he's seen numerous pitchers, learned from many instructors and studied piles of scouting reports. The trick he has learned is he needs to forget most of that when he steps into the batter's box.
"You know that a lot of stuff is just wasted thoughts," Cuddyer said. "For me, you get the information you think you need. As you get older, you realize what information you can apply to your game and what you can't.
"As a younger guy, you get the scouting report and study the whole thing. Then you get in the box and you've got this overload of stuff in your head, and it's hard to sift through it all while still worrying about the most important thing. That's putting the bat on the ball."
Cuddyer's streak is tied for the third longest in Rockies history. Topping the list is a 23-gamer from current Rockies hitting coach Dante Bichette, May 22-June 18, 1995.
Bichette said he sees himself in Cuddyer.
"He's been one of the most enjoyable guys to talk to, just on how to go after certain types of pitchers and how to sit on pitches, how to hit with two strikes, how to hit with men in scoring position," Bichette said. "We have a lot of the same views on how to get it done."
The key is versatility.
"He's of the mentality that, 'I might not get you the first at-bat or the second at-bat, but I'm going to get you,'" Bichette said. "Guys who think like that can make adjustments, and most of the time be successful at some point.
"Everybody talks about just one approach, and that's where hitting goes wrong. Everybody sticks to their approach. There's no perfect approach. There's always a hole in a certain approach. When pitchers figure that out, you've got to be able to change that approach. He can adjust with the strategy of the game, because he's very knowledgeable of himself."
Cuddyer, who entered Sunday's play fourth in the NL with a .322 batting average, said even situational hitting, a vexing proposition for many, is something he tries to make simple.
"The thing I try to do is, if there's a guy in scoring position, I try to knock him in, and if they're not, I try to get in scoring position," Cuddyer said. "If you keep it that simple, it keeps you from trying to do too much."
Arenado working on maintaining energy level
WASHINGTON -- Rockies rookie third baseman Nolan Arenado has brought limitless energy since joining the club on April 28.
Arenado, 22, has appeared in every game and started all but two games since joining the club.
"I like playing every day," Arenado said. "It's what I want. It's the only way you're going to feel comfortable at the plate and in the infield. It's going to help me to see a lot of pitches. I love playing every day. It's what I enjoy."
There have been successes. Arenado has made enough highlight-level plays to be considered a serious candidate for a Rawlings Gold Glove Award. If it happens, he would be the first rookie third baseman to do so.
Offensive consistency has been a challenge. Arenado entered Sunday hitting .252 with six home runs and 21 RBIs. His homer Saturday off the Nationals' Ross Ohlendorf in the eighth inning of a 7-1 victory was his first since June 7.
His strategy for keeping up his defense and improving his offense does not involve sitting and observing.
"Nolan doesn't like days off," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "I try to give him one here and there, but it's been a while. He's wound too tight. He doesn't like to sit over here for nine innings. He's a guy I've got to pick my spots with so he doesn't play himself into the ground, but he likes to play every day.
"There's a lot of youthful energy. He loves to play the game. Even when he's struggling, he wants to grind his way through it. He's not that guy that wants to sit on the side and figure things out. The way he plays third base, it's tough to take him out of there."
To maintain his energy, Arenado said he has improved his eating -- something brought to his attention by Rockies strength and conditioning coach Brian Jordan.
"I feel good with my body, and lately I've been trying to keep up with the right foods and get as much sleep as I can, but it's tough," Arenado said. "I rest as much as I can, ice bath as much as I can, and get ready.
"I'm eating a lot of egg whites, proteins and vegetables. Earlier, I was eating a lot of junk food. But I'm making sure I feel good. Me and B.J. were talking about my energy level. It's good because I want to play every day."
Weiss keeping Helton fresh by resting him in day games
WASHINGTON -- The Rockies are keeping first baseman Todd Helton out of the sunlight as often as possible.
Helton, hitting .252 with six home runs and 26 RBIs, seemed a good matchup against Nationals lefty Ross Detweiler (3-for-6, two doubles) on Sunday afternoon, but manager Walt Weiss went with right-handed-hitting Jordan Pacheco. Helton, 39, also didn't start Saturday afternoon's 7-1 victory over the Nationals.
"I talked to Todd a couple days ago about this series, and we decided I was going to give him two days in a row," Weiss said. "We try not to run Todd out there too many day games. That's been the plan with him from the get-go. He's played a day game here and there, but for the most part, I try to let him run out there at night."
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.