Star third baseman Nolan Arenado was blunt Tuesday when asked about the current state of the Rockies.
Asked if the Rockies need to qualify for the playoffs in order to show that the team is heading in the right direction, he said: “Absolutely. No question for me. Eight teams (out of 15) make the playoffs and if we’re not one of those eight teams that’s not a very good sign.”
Arenado was back in the lineup Tuesday night after missing Sunday’s game because of a sore left shoulder. It’s a bothersome injury but Arenado said he would try to play through it for the final 14 games of the season.
The Rockies entered Tuesday’s game with a 21-25 record (.457), trailing Philadelphia (23-23, .500) and San Francisco (23-24, .489) by 1 1/2 games for the National League’s final wild-card spot.
Told of Arenado’s comments, manager Bud Black said: “I like where his head’s at.”
Arenado was equally blunt about his own performance this season and made a point not to blame his sore shoulder for his relatively poor production.
“I’m not going to put total blame on this,” Arenado said. “The blame goes on me, (I’m) just not performing the way I should. But playing with something nagging isn’t very fun. It’s kind of hard to compete but I’m not going to put all of the blame on this.”
Arenado entered Tuesday’s game slashing just .261/.311/.461 with a .772 OPS, well below his career .892 OPS. He has just one home run in his previous 15 games and was hitting .189 with runners in scoring position entering Tuesday night. He owns a .325 career average with runners in scoring position.
Arenado also said that team meetings and talk aren’t going to get the club to the playoffs. The Rockies simply have to play better.
“I don’t know what meeting we could possibly have now,” he said. “It just a matter of going out there and doing it. It’s about looking at yourself in the mirror and I need to do the same. I need to look at myself in the mirror and do a better job.
“There is no one to blame. We’re a team but, we definitely need to look at ourselves in the mirror and make a change and find a way to help this team win because we haven’t done a very good job.”
As for the sore AC joint in his left shoulder that has bothered him for much of the season, Arenado hopes that treatment, including anti-inflammatory shots, will help.
“Today, I’m feeling a lot better than I did before,” Arenado said. “I got the treatment on it so definitely feeling better, which is nice.”
Athletics RHP Mike Fiers (5-2, 5.06) at Rockies RHP German Marquez (2-5, 4.35)
1:10 p.m. Wednesday, Coors Field
TV: AT&T SportsNet
Radio: KOA 850 AM/94.1 AM
Marquez has pitched better of late and that’s a good thing as the Rockies head down the stretch. He’s known as a strikeout pitcher, but Marquez is ranked tied for fourth in the National League with 85 groundballs induced this season. The right-hander is looking for his first victory since posting consecutive wins over Oakland and San Francisco on July 29 and Aug. 4. Since then, he’s is 0-4 with a 5.44 ERA, with the Rockies holding a 3-4 record over that span. Fiers tossed six innings of six-hit, four-run ball during Oakland’s 10-6 win over the Rangers on Friday. He struck out five. The A’s are 7-2 when Fiers starts a game this season.
Trending: Entering Tuesday’s play, the Rockies ranked third in the National League and tied for sixth in the majors with 32 stolen bases. Colorado’s 88.9 stolen base percentage leads the majors.
At issue: With six home games remaining (counting Tuesday night’s game), the Rockies were 10-14 at Coors Field. The club has finished below .500 at home only eight times in franchise history. The Rockies have not won a home series since winning three of four games over San Francisco on Aug. 3-6.
Thursday: Dodgers LHP Julio Urias (3-0, 3.53) at Rockies LHP Kyle Freeland (2-1, 3.54), 6:40 p.m., ATTRM
Friday: Dodgers TBD at Rockies RHP Ryan Castellani (1-2, 4.46), 6:40 p.m., ATTRM
Saturday: Dodgers LHP Clayton Kershaw (5-2, 2.28) at Rockies TBD, 6:10 p.m., ATTRM