Rockies struggling to hit left-handers

Rockies struggling to hit left-handers

Rockies struggling to hit left-handers
DENVER -- The Rockies insist they don't fear opposing left-handed starting pitchers, but the numbers are frightful. They've managed two earned runs in 29 1/3 innings and are 1-3 in those games.

The Rockies' next chance against a lefty is Wednesday night, when they face the Padres' Clayton Richard in hopes that they are stronger than they were against Cory Luebke in a 7-1 loss to the Padres on Monday night.

Several key right-handed hitters have poor numbers against lefties overall, starters and relievers. Leadoff man Marco Scutaro entered Tuesday 3-for-16 (.188), switch-hitter Dexter Fowler also was 3-for-16 and Troy Tulowitzki was 3-for-15 (.200). Ramon Hernandez and Michael Cuddyer have respectable numbers against either but actually are doing better against righties.

Because Scutaro has had good at-bats and bad luck, Fowler has generally hit well from the right side and Tulowitzki is generally a slow starter, the Rockies are not panicking.

"It's early in the season and we've got too many good right-handed hitters, although I did challenge our right-handed hitters yesterday before the game to get on these left-handed starters," Rockies hitting coach Carney Lansford said. "I don't know what it is, to be honest. I wish I had the answers. But they'll get it together.

"We're 10 games into the season and we've got 152 to go. I don't like seeing trends like that, whether it's right-handed pitchers or left-handed pitchers. With the talent we have, we should get on all those guys."

Left-handed-hitting Carlos Gonzalez and Todd Helton each entered Tuesday's start against righty Anthony Bass hitting better than .400 against right-handers and under .200 against lefties. If either of them were doing better left-on-left, the team's overall numbers might be better. But that's a tall order against some of the quality lefties who have started against the Rockies.

"Things are not going the way we expect," said Gonzalez, who returned to the lineup Tuesday after missing three games with strep throat. "For us, me and Helton, we're going to battle and we expect to be able to hit lefties, but at the same time, we expect the righties to take those guys out of the game. It's just the way they expect us to pound the right-handers. It's early. We've got to be able to create some momentum."

The Rockies' best hitter against lefties has been left-handed hitting Tyler Colvin, at 3-for-7 (.429) going into Tuesday's game.

The sample size has been small, the opposing pitchers have been good, and factors beyond the opposing pitcher are involved.

"[The Giants'] Barry Zito was exceptional when he faced us," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "The kid last night [Luebke] didn't live over the middle of the plate at all. [The Giants'] Madison Bumgarner is going to be one of the more elite left-handed starters in the industry as he goes along. He's of the ripe, old age of 22. We've faced some very good left-handed pitching.

"What also will help it is the manner in which the game unfolds next time we face one. Hopefully, we'll have a start to the game where we look up and by the time our seven-hole hitter is up we're leading by four."