Arenado cements special season with 30th HR
Rockies third baseman starting to gain steam after struggling out of gate in 2nd half
DENVER -- Even with all the accolades and positive attention this season, Nolan Arenado experiences frustration just like everyone else. After tearing through the season's first half with predictable regularity, the Rockies third baseman has stumbled some since the All-Star break, owning just a .244 batting average through the second half's first 31 games.
But Arenado has stuck to his routine and hasn't wavered from what generated the first All-Star appearance of his career. Following his 3-for-5 night -- which included his 30th homer of the season -- in Friday's 14-9 loss to the Mets at Coors Field, Arenado is hitting .357 (20-for-56) with 11 RBIs over his last 14 games.
His fourth-inning long ball made Arenado just the second third baseman in franchise history to have a 30-homer season. Vinny Castilla did it six times (1995-99, 2004).
"My dad has always taught me to always be a line-drive hitter and don't think about home runs, so with that mindset, I believe that's why they come more often," Arenado said. "I don't think about them and I just try to hit the ball hard, and this year, they've been going out.
"But it's pretty cool. There's no doubt. It's a special accomplishment."
Even with his homer figures a bit down in the second half -- Friday's blast was his sixth since the All-Star break, compared to 12 in June alone -- Arenado's long ball total is just one off the National League lead, held by Bryce Harper.
Rockies manager Walt Weiss said that 30 homers is the benchmark these days and didn't hold back more praise for his heralded third baseman.
"He's putting together a heck of a year," Weiss said. "It's big-time stuff."
Even so, Arenado knows more struggles will eventually come. Twenty-two of the Rockies' last 42 games this season come against playoff-contending teams, and he admitted that schedule will makes things "extremely hard" in the final stretch.
But Arenado won't be changing anything.
"Sometimes you feel like you lost it to be honest," Arenado said. "In the tough times, it feels like you forgot how to hit.
"But I just try to come out here every day, keep the routine, keep playing hard and just do my job. Lately, I've been getting some hits here and there."