Rox feast on steady diet of southpaws

Rockies feasting on lefty pitching

DENVER -- Starting with Wednesday night's game against left-hander Mike Hampton and the Astros, the Rockies could get acclimated to seeing lefties -- five times in seven games.

Facing southpaws might suit the Rockies well. They are hitting .280 against left-handers, good for sixth in the National League. In fact, they are closer to second in that department (Dodgers, .287) than they are to seventh (Brewers, .269). Of the top five hitters on the team against left-handed pitching this season (with a minimum of 10 at-bats), struggling left-handed hitter Ian Stewart is the best at .385.

A career .245 hitter, Stewart has historically hit left-handers (.338) better than right-handers (.221). He hit a two-run homer off Hampton in the second inning Wednesday. Part of Stewart's success against lefties stem from his childhood. Stewart's father, Steve, is left-handed, and he threw batting practice to his son through high school.

"Just seeing that all the time growing up, facing him has probably helped me a little bit," said Stewart, who entered Wednesday's start against Hampton with a .211 overall average.

Lefty-hitting Brad Hawpe is hitting .280 with three home runs against left-handers. Hawpe had six home runs last season against lefties. Hawpe said he keeps the same approach against all pitchers.

"I'm just going out there, trying to get strikes and hit them into the middle of the field," Hawpe said.

Rookie switch-hitter Dexter Fowler has hit .325 against left-handers, counting a short stint last season. Like Hawpe, his approach is the same on both sides of the plate and said his success against left-handers may just be luck.

"Some days you feel better right-handed, some days you feel better left-handed," Fowler said.

It's only fitting manager Clint Hurdle chimed in with his theory.

"The one thing I know, at least from my experience from talking to most left-handed hitters, you try and do less against left-handed pitchers," Hurdle said. "You really just try and look for a fastball you can handle. You're not looking for certain pitches in certain locations. You want to stay away from deep counts when you get into their secondary pitches -- it's usually a slider or a curveball."

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