DENVER -- The next time Rockies manager Walt Weiss starts right-handed-hitting Brandon Barnes in the leadoff spot, instead of sizzling Charlie Blackmon, it just might not set off a social media and fantasy player firestorm.
On Tuesday, Weiss looked at the matchup with difficult Giants left-hander Madison Bumgarner and decided to sit Blackmon and his .411 batting average. All Barnes did in Blackmon's stead was go 2-for-4 against Bumgarner in the Rockies' 2-1 victory.
"It's huge, motivation to keep going and keep grinding it out," said Barnes, who earned another start Wednesday afternoon against the Giants' Matt Cain and went 1-for-4 with two walks and a run. "You're not going to win every game by a big margin. When you're facing a tough pitcher, you've got to grind out the at-bats and hang in until you score runs and win."
Barnes started regularly last season with the Astros, but he is demonstrating this season he can function with sporadic opportunities. He is batting .317, with a .366 on-base percentage in sporadic starting opportunities (eight starts in 20 appearances). He has hit .300 as a substitute and is 2-for-7 plus has two sacrifice bunts as a pinch-hitter.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. Teddy Cahill is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @tedcahill. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.