5/8/2014 7:05 P.M. ET
CarGo joining in Rockies' hit parade
By Thomas Harding / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- Rockies left fielder Carlos Gonzalez struggled for hits and through bumps and bruises for the better part of three weeks, yet found the experience oddly liberating.
The going wisdom has been the Rockies need Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki hot and healthy or else it all falls apart. Well, Gonzalez's batting average was at .232 through April 28, yet the Rockies were fine. Lately, Gonzalez has joined the rest of the Rockies, having knocked two doubles on Monday and gone 5-for-5 with a double and three RBIs Tuesday in victories over the Rangers at Coors Field.
Gonzalez entered Wednesday night's game at Globe Life Park on an eight-game hit streak during which he hit .400 (14-for-35) with five doubles, two home runs and nine RBIs. He drew relaxation from knowing his slump didn't send the Rockies' season off the rails.
"It's been fun, and I haven't felt like this for a while -- the last time I felt like this was 2009," said Gonzalez, referring to the last time the Rockies went to the playoffs. "It's the feeling that you can win every game and it's not up to you. It's about everybody.
"It's nice to feel there's no finger pointed to me or to Tulo. When the team is going bad, it's like, 'Let's point the finger at CarGo and Tulo; Whatever they do, that's how the Rockies are going to do.'"
Of course, Tulowitzki has hit enough to make up for any slump, with a .421 average, nine homers and 30 RBIs going into Wednesday night. But with Nolan Arenado riding a long hit streak and six hitters at .311 or above in Wednesday's lineup, the Rockies have enough hitting, even with Michael Cuddyer out for nearly three weeks and counting with a left hamstring strain. Now with Gonzalez (.279, 6 HR, 24 RBIs) looking as if .300 and above are just around the corner, he can carry extra when inevitable slumps
As for how he dealt with the slump, Gonzalez said he didn't mess with his swing mechanics. Many baseball players drive themselves crazy seeking advice, which is plentiful from accomplished hitters and almost everyone else with a computer to study video or a stat program to analyze trends. Or they analyze themselves to confusion.
"My swing won't change because I've been swinging like that since I was 5." But he realized his leg kick was too quick and simply needed to keep swinging to find the timing. Behind his simple strategy was a unwavering belief he would hit.
"I've hit .200 before in months, then I know I can come and hit .500 in one month," Gonzalez said. "Baseball is a game of feelings, sometimes you feel bad and sometimes you feel good. But your mental part, you have to keep it the same. I believe in myself, and the numbers are going to show."
Of all the stats that can be placed on a hitter, the most telling may be this one. From the start of the slump with an 0-for-4 against the Giants on April 12, manager Walt Weiss has started Gonzalez in all but two games.
"For me, I watch their body language," Weiss said. "When I see them getting real frustrated or you see them get a little demoralized by the game, those are the times I try to give them a breather. But CarGo is such a happy-go-lucky guy and free spirit, he's always smiling, so it's tough to read into it.
"He's been working hard, like all players have to, and it looks like he's ready to take off."
Cuddyer set to take next step to running
ARLINGTON -- Rockies injured outfielder-first baseman Michael Cuddyer, out since suffering a left hamstring strain on April 17, plans to make the next important step in his rehab by introducing running exercises when the club goes to Cincinnati this weekend.
Cuddyer had been exercising in the fitness pool at Coors Field, but Wednesday he did strengthening exercises on flat ground at Globe Life Stadium.
"You're obviously looking for positive steps, and a big one is being able to go out and run," Cuddyer said. "I'm not there yet, but I'm slowly approaching it."
Cuddyer (.317, 3 HR, 10 RBIs in 16 games) said he could take swings, but doesn't believe it's necessary and believes that could be at the risk of accidentally tweaking the hamstring injury.
Weiss, Rockies not focused on road hitting
ARLINGTON -- Fresh from outscoring the Mets and Rangers, 38-25, in a six-game homestand, the Rockies are playing the first five games of a seven-game road trip at hitter's parks - the Rangers' Globe Life Park for two and the Reds' Great American Ball Park for three.
The Rockies have had a long tradition of difficulty adjusting after leaving Coors Field, so going to offense-friendly parks could ease that transition.
However, manager Walt Weiss would prefer not to see it that way.
"We try not to make too much of where we're playing," Weiss said. "I know we play well at home, and we try to establish that and really embrace that homefield advantage. We're doing that early on.
"But we feel our lineup plays anywhere. These are considered hitters' parks but regardless where we're at, it's a tough lineup for the opposing pitcher to get through."
Tulo making history with torrid start in home park
ARLINGTON -- In 1933, Hall of Famer Chuck Klein hit .467 at his home park, the Philadelphia Phillies' Baker Bowl. No player since has reached that level in a season of 200 or more plate appearances. So when you're name is mentioned with his, as Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is experiencing, it's special, even if it's a small snippet of at-bats compared to a long season.
Tulowitzki, who entered Wednesday's game against the Rangers at Glove Life Park batting.421 (45-for-107) overall, has an otherworldly .608 batting average in his 15 games at Coors.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Tulowitzki is the first player to hit better than .600 over a stretch of 15 home games in one season while making at least 50 at-bats since Klein hit .614 from the second game of a June 28, 1933 doubleheader through an Aug. 5 doubleheader.
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.