DENVER -- While not considered to be among the fastest players in the Majors, during three plays in the Rockies' 7-3 victory over the Pirates on Saturday, Rockies center fielder Charlie Blackmon proved what's important: He's as fast as he needs to be."I'd like to think I treat them all
DENVER -- While not considered to be among the fastest players in the Majors, during three plays in the Rockies' 7-3 victory over the Pirates on Saturday, Rockies center fielder Charlie Blackmon proved what's important: He's as fast as he needs to be.
"I'd like to think I treat them all the same, and that's doing the best I can every time," Blackmon said. "Maybe you feel a little different energy when it's a weekend game, there are a lot of people in the stands, and it's a close game."
No night like Star Wars night at Coors Field to fire up the Statcast™ sensors and illustrate how Blackmon found an extra gear on two defensive plays and his Majors'-leading 13th triple. Here are the specifics:
• Blackmon ended the seventh inning by traveling 84 feet, with a 4.9-second opportunity time, to rob Jordy Mercer of possible extra bases. The catch had a 69 percent catch probability and checked in as a three-star catch.
• To open the bottom of the seventh, Blackmon lashed an A.J. Schugel pitch into right-center and sped first to third at a top speed of 29 feet per second. Blackmon's average top speed is 28 feet per second, and the MLB average is 27 feet per second. Blackmon went from home to third in just 11.30 seconds, surpassing an 11.57-second triple on June 16 and marking the third-fastest triple by a Rockies player this season. Raimel Tapia, currently at Triple-A Albuquerque, had the two fastest.
• On one of the game's biggest plays, Blackmon dashed to right-center and corralled Josh Bell's eight-inning drive with two outs, two on and the Rockies leading, 5-2. Statcast™ computed that as a four-star catch, with a 58-percent catch probability. Blackmon reached 28.1 feet per second and covered 85 feet within his 4.8-second opportunity time.
Blackmon graduated with honors from Georgia Tech in finance, which means he's smart. And smart people tend to have simple explanations. Of the catches, Blackmon said, "I just focus on running and making up ground. I knew where both of those balls were going to land."
Interestingly, Blackmon could have had another triple. On his third-inning double, the lead runner, starting pitcher German Marquez, couldn't tell if the ball was going to land and got a poor jump from first base. Blackmon had to slam the brakes when rounding second.
"I thought about going," Blackmon said. "I didn't realize he had stopped."
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and** like his Facebook page**.