Rockies’ Scott Oberg, Ryan McMahon, Matt Holliday key postseason hopes
What do Scott Oberg, Ryan McMahon and Matt Holliday have in common?
At the all-star break, none of them was considered essential to the Rockies’ postseason chances. In fact, McMahon was still making his bones at Triple-A Albuquerque; Holliday was in baseball limbo, a seven-time all-star without a team; and Oberg, having missed time with a back injury, was trying to regain his form after an early-season tuneup at Triple-A.
Now those three are key to Colorado’s quest for its first National League West title. The Rockies entered Wednesday night’s game against Arizona with a one-game lead over the Dodgers in the NL West and a 2½-game lead over the Diamondbacks.
Holliday, the 38-year-old slugger who has been a force at the plate, made his ninth start in left field Wednesday night. Holliday had recorded a hit in 10 of the 13 games in which he played, batting .321 (9-for-28), with two home runs. He was 3-for-4 with a double and a home run as a pinch hitter.
“Matt has done an outstanding job for us, but he’s not the only one of our guys to contribute off the bench,” Manager Bud Black said. “Like I’ve said all season, it’s going to take everyone on our roster to get where we want to go.”
Oberg, who struggled out of the gate, posting a 6.97 ERA in nine appearances, has been Colorado’s steadiest reliever, and he has earned Black’s trust. Indeed, Oberg has supplanted struggling Bryan Shaw as one of Colorado’s late-game set-up men.
“For me it’s been about getting ahead of guys early and utilizing my four-seam fastball,” said Oberg, who entered Wednesday’s game 7-0 with a 2.44 ERA and .221 batting average against. “I’ve learned how to spot it where I want it. I’m staying aggressive with every pitch, and I think I’ve got much better in-game awareness.”
Oberg had posted a 1.22 ERA with 33 strikeouts and just six walks since his recall May 28. He has become one of Black’s favored right-hand men.
“Of course I don’t think about about that in the moment, but when I get back to my apartment at night, I look back and think, ‘Wow, that’s all right.’ It’s nice to see the fruits of your labor pay off,” Oberg said.
McMahon, 23, made Colorado’ opening-day roster but struggled out of the gate and was optioned to Triple-A twice this season. His versatility has given him playing time — 20 starts at first base, eight and second and eight at third — but he still comes off the bench a lot. It’s a job he’s relishing.
“My role has fluctuated,” McMahon said. “There are some weeks I start five times and other times I start once. But I’m all about the team winning right now.
“I know we’re always supposed to say that, but I mean it. I’m concentrating on getting ready for the late-inning at-bat. Because we have seen so many big-time pinch hits lately. I want to be part of that.”
McMahon entered Wednesday batting .269 (21-for-78) with three home runs and 10 RBIs in 35 games since his recall from Triple-A on July 29. Four of his five home runs this season have come in the seventh inning or later.
True Story. Shortstop Trevor Story, being touted by Black as an MVP candidate, is having a September to remember, putting together hits and homers at a record pace. Here is the latest tally:
- Smacked his 40th double Tuesday night to became the first shortstop in big-league history to record at least 40 doubles, 30 home runs and 25 stolen bases
in a season.
- Story is the second shortstop since 1920 (when RBIs became an official statistic) to have a season with 30 home runs, 100 RBIs, 25 stolen bases and 100 or more games at shortstop. Alex Rodriguez also did it in 1998 with Seattle.
- Story leads the the majors this month with six homers and 15 RBIs, while hitting .325 (13-for-40).
- He entered Wednesday ranked first in the NL in total bases (307) and extra-base hits (77), was tied for first in doubles (40), tied for second in RBIs (100), tied for third in home runs (32), tied for sixth in hits (161) and tied for fifth in stolen bases (25).
Diamondbacks RHP Clay Buchholz (7-2, 2.01 ERA) at Rockies LHP Kyle Freeland (14-7, 2.91), 1:10 p.m., Facebook Watch, 850 AM
Freeland has worked his way into the National League Cy Young conversation, at least as someone who will garner honorable-mention votes. The lefty’s already had 20 quality starts and has been remarkably good at Coors Field, going 8-2 with a 2.21 ERA, with 75 strikeouts vs. only 29 walks in 13 starts. In three outings vs. Arizona this season, Freeland is 0-1 with a 4.96 ERA. In 80 at-bats vs. Freeland in his career, the Diamondbacks have swatted just one home run. Buchholz has been dominant over the last two-thirds of the season, going 6-1 with a 1.53 ERA and .218 batting average against across his last 11 starts. He’s posted five consecutive starts allowing zero or one earned runs, but hasn’t received a decision in any of his last three starts. Buchholz will be getting his first tastes of Coors Field. His only start vs. the Rockies came on May 26, 2016 when he took the loss, giving up five earned runs over six innings.
Note: Thursday’s Diamondbacks vs. Rockies game will be a MLB Facebook Watch broadcast, available on desktop, mobile and TV. The game will be broadcast with no commercials. To watch the game, search for “MLB Live” after
logging into Facebook.
Friday: Rockies LHP Tyler Anderson (6-8, 4.89) at Giants RHP Chris Stratton (9-9, 4.99), 8:15 p.m., ATTRM
Saturday: Rockies RHP German Marquez (12-9, 3.94) at Giants LHP Madison Bumgarner (5-6, 3.30), 7:05 p.m, ATTRM
Sunday: Rockies RHP Antonio Senzatela (4-6, 5.01) at Giants Dereck Rodriguez (6-3, 2.35), 2 p.m. ATTRM
- Kyle Freeland, Rockies’ bats power Colorado past San Diego Padres – The Denver Post
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