Hot-hitting Blackmon gets start against lefty
SAN DIEGO -- A .488 batting average going into Monday night is reason enough for Rockies center fielder Charlie Blackmon to be confident, but he received an extra boost when manager Walt Weiss started him against Padres lefty Eric Stults.
It was Blackmon's second time in the lineup against a lefty starter. Weiss put him in against the D-backs' Wade Miley the night after he went 6-for-6 in the home opener, and Blackmon responded by going 3-for-4. However, against the White Sox's Jose Quintana and the Giants' Madison Bumgarner, Weiss went with a right-handed lineup featuring outfielders Drew Stubbs and Brandon Barnes.
"I think it's a big deal because that's what everyday players do," said Blackmon, who doubled to right field off Stults to open the game Monday. "You've obviously got to get over that hump to be that type of player. But also, I have a lot of good history against left-handed pitchers. That isn't something to take for granted as a left-handed hitter."
In 164 career games going into Monday, Blackmon has a .331 average against lefties and .299 against righties. Granted, he has far more plate appearances against righties -- 395, to 130 against lefties -- but the early part of his career has shown him to be platoon-proof.
"I don't look at it as just a strict platoon with some of our left-handed guys, particularly Blackmon and [Justin] Morneau," Weiss said. "I look at the type of left-hander. I look at the matchup. At the same time, I want to get the guys some starts, the right-handed hitters. I take a few things into consideration.
"Charlie is obviously swinging the bat really well. He's hit left-handers well in his career. So a number of things played into it. But the bottom line is he's one of the hottest hitters in the National League."
Even with the numbers on his side, Blackmon could only watch Sunday when Weiss subbed Stubbs for him for a key eighth-inning at-bat against Giants lefty specialist Javier Lopez. Weiss' decision worked, because Stubbs delivered an RBI single to tie the game, which the Giants won, 5-4, in 10 innings.
"I understand the move," Blackmon said. "I always want to be the guy we want to have up at the plate. But we needed that run and we were able to score, so we accomplished the objective. We were one step closer to getting a win for that reason."