10/26/07 2:04 AM ET
Big bats are lumbering along
Atkins, Hawpe epitomize troubles, come up short at key times
By Lyle Spencer / MLB.com
"I give their pitchers a lot of credit right now," said the lefty-swinging Hawpe. "They're throwing strikes and getting ahead every at-bat. That's what they want. They're throwing strikes right away, pounding the zone."Atkins also has one hit in eight trips, a double, and the Rockies are hitting just .180 as a team -- a full 100 points below their season average as they were generating 860 runs, or 5.3 per game. Only the Philadelphia Phillies produced more offense than Colorado. Their postseason run production is down to four per game, and even though they swept through the Phillies and Diamondbacks with seven consecutive October wins, they're hitting just .229 overall in the postseason.
"We scored two runs in 18 innings in this ballpark," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. "That makes it tough to win. And the guys on the bubblegum cards are pretty good, too. They had some pitches to hit tonight, didn't square it up."Clearly, the guys on the bubblegum cards are in need of an elixir. Coors Field, known since its inception as a wonderful place to swing the bat, would be a fine place to find it on Saturday night in Game 3 of the best-of-seven series. "It has to change," Atkins said. "We've got to hit better. We've had a lot of swings and misses. We have to do better, all of us. Holliday had a good night, but that was about it. "We have to have more quality at-bats, put more runners on. I don't know if there's an explanation. We just have a few guys struggling. They're getting a lot of easy outs. We have to be more disciplined, put together quality at-bats." The malaise is lineup-wide, meaning options for alterations are minimal. Hurdle could juggle a few players, perhaps try for a different look at the top of the order. But beyond that, there's not much that can be done. And he'll lose a bat with no designated hitter in the games at Coors. Table-setters Willy Taveras and Kazuo Matsui have been kept off base, each reaching just once in the two games. Matsui singled in Game 1, and Taveras was hit by a pitch leading off Game 2. Holliday's single and Helton's infield out produced a run that produced the first Colorado lead of the Series, but Atkins grounded out to leave Holliday at third. The lead lasted until the fourth, when the Red Sox got young Ulbado Jimenez in trouble with their plate discipline, piecing together runs in the fourth and fifth. "They came up with the clutch hits, and we didn't," shortstop Troy Tulowitzki said. "We need to go home and take care of business. Hopefully, we can kick-start our offense. "We've gone through streaks during the season where we kind of got cold. Hopefully, we'll all heat up together."
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.