DENVER -- As crunch time nears, the Rockies continue to do more this season with a bevy of young players.
Four of the club's position players in Sunday's starting lineup spent time with Triple-A Colorado Springs this year. They've received key contributions lately at the top of the order from Eric Young Jr. and Dexter Fowler. Infielder Jonathan Herrera filled in admirably when Troy Tulowitzki went down with injury.
Rookie pitchers Matt Reynolds, Jhoulys Chacin and Esmil Rogers have been called upon to fill the shoes of injured veterans. These efforts, as Rockies manager Jim Tracy said, have helped keep the Rockies afloat in the National League Wild Card race.
"There's a dynamic skill set here to some of our young players," Tracy said. "It's not good, it's exciting. You know where they're at right now. But you know there are mountains to climb with them."
None has been more impressive this season than outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, who leads the team in homers, RBIs, runs, stolen bases and batting average.
"If this guy makes them throw it over the plate, the majority of the time he's standing up there, wow," Tracy said. "You'd be hard-pressed to find another name that hits the ball harder on a line than some of the ones we've seen."
Entering Sunday, Gonzalez has at least one extra-base hit in each of his last five games and is batting .449 with 12 homers and 31 RBIs in his last 24 games at Coors Field. Fowler leads the big leagues in triples while Young has stolen seven bases in his 13 games since being called up.
Chacin has struck out 109 batters in 102 innings this season, allowing just one run in his last 14 2/3 innings.