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Notes: Tulowitzki making run at award

Notes: Tulowitzki making run at award

DENVER -- Troy Tulowitzki likes to emulate his hero, Derek Jeter.

Tulowitzki wears the No. 2 because of Jeter, shares a similar body type as the Yankees' captain -- Jeter is 6-foot-3, 195 pounds, while Tulowitzki is 6-3, 205 -- and with a second half similar to his first, he could add Rookie of the Year to his resume, a la Jeter.

Last weekend in Houston, with a couple swings of the bat, the rookie shortstop made it known that Astros center fielder Hunter Pence has some company in the National League Rookie of the Year race. Tulowitzki went 6-for-11 in Houston and hit his third home run in four days that gave the Rockies the lead. Unfortunately, they lost it all three times.

It's not as though Tulowitzki hadn't proved worthy of consideration prior to the trip to Minute Maid Park. But it's tough for anyone to compare against the numbers of Pence. Through Thursday, Pence ranked second in the NL with a .345 batting average, leads NL rookies with 40 RBIs and ranks third with 11 home runs.

"You look at Hunter Pence's numbers, and it's pretty unbelievable," Tulowitzki said.

Take away Tulowitzki's .285 batting average, and he isn't far off. He has nine homers, including six in the past 13 games. He leads rookies in runs (48) and walks (31), and he only trails Pence in hits (86 to 89). Tulowitzki leads all Major League shortstops with 423 total chances, 283 assists and 135 putouts. He's even raised his batting average 24 points over the last 20 games, as he's gone a Pence-like .355 during the stretch.

"I'm just getting more comfortable with the league," Tulowitzki said. "And pitchers, I'm not facing them for the first time now. It's like my second or third time. So you start to know their tendencies and how they're going to pitch you."

Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said Friday the true test for a rookie comes in the second half of the season, when they play an extended schedule and baseball in September for the first time.

Tulowitzki, who has started 79 games already this season -- compared to 61 for Pence -- likes his chance of putting together a productive second half.

"I'm well built for a shortstop, so I don't think I'm going to get tired or anything," he said. "It is my first time going through 162 games, but I feel confident that I'll be the same player the second half as I was the first half."

Last season's NL Rookie of the Year, Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez, who's also a bigger shortstop at 6-3, 200 pounds, hit .319 during the second half with 11 homers and 34 RBIs -- all better than his first half totals.

As for Tulowitzki's idol, Jeter hit .350 during the second half of his rookie season in 1996, compared to .277 the first half.

Hurdle wary of Home Run Derby: Rockies All-Star Matt Holliday has made it known that he'd like to participate in the Home Run Derby next week in San Francisco, but his manager isn't going to be petitioning the league anytime soon to include him.

"Nothing good comes from hitting in the Home Run Derby," Hurdle said. "If he wins it, what does he get?

"I do think there's a big physical strain. If he wants to do it, I'd never want to take away somebody's joy or opportunity, never. I just don't know if anything good comes out of it."

Staying in place: Despite the Rockies' recent 1-9 road trip, the team's 24-16 record since May 22 was tied for the NL best. Unfortunately, the Rockies were tied with the Padres, and they have not made up any ground in the standings during that time.

New arrival: Rockies outfielder Cory Sullivan's wife Bresee had their first child, Riley Dylan, on Thursday at 2:10 a.m. at Rose Medical Center in Denver.

Up next: Rockies right-hander Rodrigo Lopez (4-2, 4.77 ERA) will face veteran Phillies lefty Jamie Moyer (7-6, 4.25 ERA) at 6:05 p.m. MT on Saturday at Coors Field.

C.J. Moore is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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