DENVER -- As if the Rocky Mountain wonder needs another weapon at the plate, Charlie Blackmon proved in Thursday's 10-3 loss to the D-backs he may have added one.Leading off the game in a 2-2 count, the Rockies' center fielder lifted a curveball that dipped 44.8 inches 433 feet to
DENVER -- As if the Rocky Mountain wonder needs another weapon at the plate, Charlie Blackmon proved in Thursday's 10-3 loss to the D-backs he may have added one.
Leading off the game in a 2-2 count, the Rockies' center fielder lifted a curveball that dipped 44.8 inches 433 feet to the visitors' bullpen, the fourth-deepest of his 16 homers this year. At 0.84 feet off the ground, it was the lowest pitch converted for a home run in MLB this year, and second-lowest since Statcast™ was implemented in 2015.
"To be honest, it was a ball," said Blackmon, whose previous low on a homer was 1.32 feet off the ground. "I probably shouldn't have swung at it, but I was able to hit it just well enough. I mean, it was a really good pitch actually, and it was close enough to me where I didn't have to reach real far for it. I just kind of had to go down and get it. I was lucky enough to get the barrel on it."
It was the first homer this year that Zack Godley has surrendered on his curve, and second of his career, per Statcast™. The other was to Edwin Encarnacion last July, but on a pitch that hung middle-away. Godley entered Thursday getting hitters to chase 27.9 percent of his non-borderline balls, the highest rate among MLB starters who had thrown at least 200 such pitches.
Entering Thursday, batters were slugging just .133 against Godley's curve, third-lowest in MLB among starters (min. 30 at-bats ending on a curve), and after the first frame Thursday, Godley tossed six straight scoreless innings.
"Really and truly, even that at-bat I felt like I was doing what I needed to do," said Godley, who generated eight swinging strikes among the 29 curves he threw Thursday. "[Blackmon] made a great swing on a great pitch and hit a homer. In that spot you've just got to tip your hat and go right back at it and try and get the next guy."
Blackmon leads the Majors with 332 plate appearances, and understands he will see more aggressive pitching at the top of the Rockies' lineup. This year on pitches in the lower-third and below, Blackmon is averaging a 13.9-degree launch angle on batted balls, with just a 5.0 percent swing-and-miss rate on such pitches, which ranks 21st out of 122 batters who have swung on such pitches.
"Most guys want to pitch down and I can sometimes hit balls hard when they're down, so I think that helps me," Blackmon said.
"He was able to keep his hands back enough and then get the bat head to it with some lift to it, so that's impressive hitting," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "When a guy is able to do that sort of thing, that's pretty a talented hitter. That ball was hit hard. That's out in most ballparks."
Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_.