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Tulowitzki dropped from fourth to fifth in lineup

Tulowitzki dropped from fourth to fifth in lineup

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Tulowitzki dropped from fourth to fifth in lineup
LOS ANGELES -- Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, whose bases-loaded soft fly ball Saturday night ended a golden opportunity in his team's 2-1 loss to the Dodgers, dropped from fourth to fifth in the lineup on Sunday.

"I'm not where I want to be or where I need to be," Tulowitzki said. "It really stinks that we're not hitting well, and when you have that one at-bat like I did with the bases loaded, I need to make sure I get a hit right there. Sometimes you don't, but that's just the way it is. On another day you wouldn't even look at that."

But this is a time for scrutiny for all of the Rockies, Tulowitzki included. Tulowitzki has actually hit safely in 16 of the last 19 games. But at-bats like Saturday's -- on a night when he went 0-for-4 with four fly balls, only one truly driven -- attract more attention.

Manager Jim Tracy said he dropped Tulowitzki and moved Michael Cuddyer to the cleanup spot mainly to give Tulowitzki a chance to step back. It didn't work. In Sunday's 11-5 loss to the Dodgers, Tulowitzki went 0-for-4 with three fly balls. That made him 1-for-12 in the three-game sweep, with fly balls for nine of those outs.

Tulowitzki is 3-for-36 against left-handed pitching this season, after hitting .349 against lefties last season. Tracy said side-by-side video of Tulowitzki on Saturday against his home run off Astros lefty Fernando Abad in the season opener shows that Tulowitzki is forcing power instead of reacting to pitches.

"I'll just take the onus off Tulo for a couple of days, just to see how it goes," Tracy said.

With first baseman Todd Helton resting on Sunday, the normal lineup would have had Cuddyer hitting fifth, so he is just moving up one spot.

It's not as if either hitter has a good history against Dodgers left-handed starter Ted Lilly, who has made a career of dominating the Rockies. Cuddyer entered with a .167 (2-for-12) average and three strikeouts but one home run and a double against Lilly. Tulowitzki entered hitting .138 (4-for-29) with a double, 11 strikeouts and one walk in 29 at-bats against Lilly.

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