Streaking Cuddyer keeping it simple at plate

Streaking Cuddyer keeping it simple at plate

WASHINGTON -- The more Rockies veteran hitter Michael Cuddyer knows, the less he thinks.

Cuddyer's simple approach has helped him become one of the most successful hitters in the National League. Cuddyer extended his hitting streak to 21 games with a home run in his first at-bat Sunday in Washington. The streak is the longest active streak in the Majors and has now eclipsed David Freese's run earlier this year for the longest in baseball this season. Cuddyer also had reached base in a club-record 40 straight games.

Cuddyer added an RBI single in his next at-bat Sunday, then followed that with a two-run single in his third plate appearance.

This is Cuddyer's 13th season in the Majors, which means he's seen numerous pitchers, learned from many instructors and studied piles of scouting reports. The trick he has learned is he needs to forget most of that when he steps into the batter's box.

"You know that a lot of stuff is just wasted thoughts," Cuddyer said. "For me, you get the information you think you need. As you get older, you realize what information you can apply to your game and what you can't.

"As a younger guy, you get the scouting report and study the whole thing. Then you get in the box and you've got this overload of stuff in your head, and it's hard to sift through it all while still worrying about the most important thing. That's putting the bat on the ball."

Cuddyer's streak is tied for the third longest in Rockies history. Topping the list is a 23-gamer from current Rockies hitting coach Dante Bichette, May 22-June 18, 1995.

Bichette said he sees himself in Cuddyer.

"He's been one of the most enjoyable guys to talk to, just on how to go after certain types of pitchers and how to sit on pitches, how to hit with two strikes, how to hit with men in scoring position," Bichette said. "We have a lot of the same views on how to get it done."

The key is versatility.

"He's of the mentality that, 'I might not get you the first at-bat or the second at-bat, but I'm going to get you,'" Bichette said. "Guys who think like that can make adjustments, and most of the time be successful at some point.

"Everybody talks about just one approach, and that's where hitting goes wrong. Everybody sticks to their approach. There's no perfect approach. There's always a hole in a certain approach. When pitchers figure that out, you've got to be able to change that approach. He can adjust with the strategy of the game, because he's very knowledgeable of himself."

Cuddyer, who entered Sunday's play fourth in the NL with a .322 batting average, said even situational hitting, a vexing proposition for many, is something he tries to make simple.

"The thing I try to do is, if there's a guy in scoring position, I try to knock him in, and if they're not, I try to get in scoring position," Cuddyer said. "If you keep it that simple, it keeps you from trying to do too much."

Thomas Harding is a reporter for Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.