09/16/08 8:08 PM ET
Holliday gets day off from righty lineup
Tulowitzki moved up to take advantage of his hot bat
By Jeff Birnbaum / MLB.com
Clint Barmes moved up to the leadoff spot, Troy Tulowitzki hit in the two-hole, and Ryan Spilborghs started in left and batted third in place of Matt Holliday. Jeff Baker got the start at third over Ian Stewart, and Dexter Fowler played center field and hit eighth.
The Rockies wanted a primarily right-handed lineup against Padres left-hander Shawn Estes, and the only lefty who started was Brad Hawpe. Fowler is a switch-hitter, but he's batted from the left side almost exclusively since he's been called up.
The Rockies are 4-9 in September and have averaged just 3.3 runs per game. Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said before the game that he hopes the changes will jump-start the lagging offense.
"We haven't been anywhere near where we need to be offensively," he said. "Maybe this will provide a spark."
Tulowitzki has been one of the Rockies' most consistent bats since returning from a lacerated hand in late July. He's hitting .319 with 25 RBIs and 23 runs during that span. He's also hitting well against left-handers this season, going 23-for-73 for a .315 average.
Tulowitzki has mostly hit seventh since he returned from his injury, but he hit in the two-hole for a majority of last season. The 23-year-old has been on a nice run the past two games, hitting the game-winning single Sunday and his second career grand slam Monday.
Hurdle has noticed a change in Tulowitzki's swagger and wanted to capitalize on it by moving him up in the lineup.
"That edge is coming back," Hurdle said. "I'm encouraged by it. His confidence is growing each and every day as his health gets better.
"[Hitting second] hasn't worked so much for him this year. But that being said, I thought we'd revisit it and see if we can find a way to help him to go along with that confidence boost."
Putting Spilborghs in the lineup gave him a chance to start and allowed Holliday to get a much-needed day off. This was Spilborghs' fifth start and first in right field since returning from a left oblique strain on Sept. 1.
Holliday has appeared in 134 games this season. He missed 14 games while recovering from a left hamstring injury in June but has sat out just three other times this season.
"He's played more than his fair share, and it probably falls upon my shoulders a little bit," Hurdle said.
Jeff Birnbaum is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.