PHILADELPHIA -- DJ LeMahieu and Charlie Blackmon. Blackmon and LeMahieu. Evidently, the order doesn't matter. As long as both are at the top of the Rockies' lineup, it's good.During the 15 games LeMahieu was on the disabled list with a left thumb injury, Blackmon hit a pedestrian (for him) .279
PHILADELPHIA -- DJ LeMahieu and Charlie Blackmon. Blackmon and LeMahieu. Evidently, the order doesn't matter. As long as both are at the top of the Rockies' lineup, it's good.
During the 15 games LeMahieu was on the disabled list with a left thumb injury, Blackmon hit a pedestrian (for him) .279 with a .393 slugging percentage, one home run and five RBIs.
LeMahieu has mostly led off in the 10 games since his return through Tuesday night, with Blackmon hitting second. LeMahieu batted .298 with eight RBIs and 11 runs scored after coming back, and behind him, Blackmon has taken off, hitting .326 with a .354 on-base percentage and .522 slugging percentage. During that stretch, the offense averaged 5.7 runs per game. While pitching struggles left the team 2-8 in that stretch, the lineup has made forward strides with LeMahieu and Blackmon back together.
"Big time, he helps me, helps our offense as a whole," Blackmon said. "We're a better team with DJ on the field.
"I really like watching DJ hit in front of me, because he's going to work that pitcher. By the time I get to the plate, that pitcher is already stressed out. And he's on base much of the time. It helps to have a good at-bat at the top of the order."
Blackmon sounds much like LeMahieu did last year, when the center fielder led the National League in batting at .331 and LeMahieu hit .310. Both were National League All-Stars.
"Hitting in front of him and Nolan [Arenado], I'm trying to work at-bats and do my best to get on base," LeMahieu said. "With him and Nolan Arenado, I'm hitting leadoff with two of the better hitters in the league behind me."
Having a stable roster for several years that experienced success last season puts the Rockies in a better position to see through any slumps. Not only are Blackmon and LeMahieu finding their hitting strokes, but Carlos Gonzalez and Trevor Story have shaken early struggles, Ian Desmond is in the midst of his best stretch of 2018 and Gerardo Parra has quietly been productive.
"When you're in a tough stretch, you never feel like you're going to get out of it, but we do have to focus on the positives," LeMahieu said. "There are a lot of good things happening. We just need to keep going."
Ottavino good to go
Right-handed reliever Adam Ottavino showed up without pain after his live batting practice Tuesday, and is expected to be activated from the disabled list for Thursday's finale against the Phillies. Ottavino missed his 14th game on Wednesday with a left oblique strain.
Additionally, lefty reliever Mike Dunn (rhomboid strain) will begin playing catch on Thursday.
Musgrave back in the fold
Left-hander Harrison Musgrave was reinstated from the bereavement list on Wednesday after missing three games for his grandfather's funeral. The Rockies optioned southpaw Sam Howard, who threw one scoreless inning in his only appearance, to Triple-A Albuquerque.
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter and like his Facebook page.