© 2007 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.
10/01/07 8:04 PM ET
Notes: Lefties no problem for Hawpe
With surge, slugger has seemingly eliminated Achilles' heel
By C.J. Moore / MLB.com
DENVER -- Brad Hawpe came up twice against Arizona lefties Sunday, and in both at-bats came away with a double, driving in three of the four Rockies runs. Hawpe against a lefty was a mismatch the first 5 1/2 months of the season, and it wasn't Hawpe who had the advantage. Rockies manager Clint Hurdle was forced to keep Hawpe out of the lineup against lefty starters, as Hawpe hit .179 against lefties before the final 14 games this season. But since the team's season-ending streak started, Hawpe has defied his southpaw woes, going 7-for-13 with two doubles, two homers -- one a game-winner -- and a .538 average. "He was due, and he'll tell you he was due, because he believes he can hit lefties," Hurdle said. "He went through a period where he was challenged by them and dramatically wasn't having the success that he thought he could have and I thought he could have. "He's gone through a stretch where he's thrown up good at-bats against everybody, some game-changing at-bats against left-handed pitchers." Hawpe has not only cured his lefty struggles, he's also solved a strikeout problem. From Aug. 17 to Sept. 13, Hawpe struck out in 26 games and had 37 strikeouts during that span. In the last 14, Hawpe has eight strikeouts -- but none against lefties. He's embracing the moment and ready to hit against all pitchers. "Emotions are high," he said. "It makes it special for the fans, the players [and] coaches." Holliday player of the month: Matt Holliday was named the National League Player of the Month for September, adding to his credentials for NL Most Valuable Player. Holliday had one stretch in September when he hit 11 homers in 12 games. He finished with 12 for the month to go along with six doubles, 30 RBIs and 29 runs scored. Holliday battled through a left oblique strain, but still hit .367 in September. Stat factor: Game No. 163 will count as a regular-season game, giving several Rockies a chance for hitting accomplishments. Holliday enters Monday trailing the Phillies' Ryan Howard in RBIs -- 135 to 136. Holliday leads the NL in batting average (.340), hits (214), total bases (382), extra-base hits (91) and doubles (50). With two RBIs Monday, Holliday would become the fifth player in the last 59 years to lead the Senior Circuit in both batting average and RBIs. Holliday needs just one hit to secure the batting title. If he were to go 0-for-5 on Monday, he would share the batting title with Chipper Jones. Troy Tulowitzki also needs two RBIs to become the only NL shortstop to tally 100 RBIs and 100 runs since 1974. Playoff game times: If the Rockies win on Monday, they will start the NL Division Series on Wednesday in Philadelphia at 1 p.m. MT. Game 2 would be Thursday at 1 p.m. MT, and Game 3 would be Saturday back in Denver at 7:30 p.m. MT. If there is a Game 4, it would be in Denver at 8 p.m. MT. Game 5 would be played back in Philly on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. MT.
C.J. Moore is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.