Motte unfazed despite struggles with location

Reliever seeking consistency in first year with Rockies

July 24th, 2016

DENVER -- Rockies right-hander isn't sure what he'll deliver sometimes. Lately, Motte's work has consisted of unwelcome surprises.

Friday night in the Rockies' 4-3 victory over the Braves, Motte (0-1, 5.95 ERA) faced two batters and gave up a single and a home run on a cutter over the plate as the Rockies' three-run lead dwindled to one. It was the second straight outing and third time in the last four that he has given up a home run and been touched for multiple runs.

Motte also has had two three-game streaks of giving up a run -- May 29-30 and June 1 (unearned), and June 22, 24 and 27. He also has had 16 scoreless games. Motte's up-and-down nature is problematic for a Rockies team that's having trouble protecting leads. But Motte has dealt with this before.

"I've done that my whole career -- I've put together 30 consecutive games where I've not let a run, then go out there and give up a 5-spot," Motte said. "But every game, every day is a new day. So you go out there regardless what happened the day before, whether you had a good day the day before, the next day is a new day. The people at the plate, they don't care what you did the day before."

Signed for two years and $10 million, Motte operates as primary right-handed setup man for closer . With the Rockies having challenged themselves to climb back into National League Wild Card contention, they can ill afford for Motte to continue on a bad streak.

Righty is pitching in high-leverage situations, but the Rockies are rationing out his opportunities because he is coming off Tommy John surgery last year. Lefty has taken some time to find his groove after missing the last three weeks of June with left knee inflammation. On Saturday, the Rockies recalled second-year righty from Triple-A Albuquerque because veteran went to the disabled list with colitis, and Oberg could get some high-leverage situations. But the bullpen lines up better when Motte is right.

"He's had some good outings, too, recently," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "Yeah, I've still got confidence in him."

Motte's mistakes are traveling a long way. He has yielded six homers and 10 other extra-base hits in 19 2/3 innings. The homers have come on three fastballs, two cutters and a changeup. The changeup was not low enough, and the others were missed locations.

Motte said the right shoulder inflammation that cost him the first 44 games is not a factor.

"It's just about execution," Motte said. "It's about location, honestly. I can look at balls I've given up hits on, given up hard-hit balls on, they're just not executed.

"Whether I was trying to go away [and] I didn't get it away, or trying to go in and didn't get it in enough. It's just balls more middle and, obviously, not where I want them to be. That doesn't matter -- fastball, cutter, changeup. Days that I've gone out there and thrown well, I've executed."