Rodgers utilizing knowledge while at plate
This story was excerpted from Thomas Harding’s Rockies Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.
DENVER -- Second baseman Brendan Rodgers went 8-for-14 with a home run and five RBIs as the Rockies took two of three from the Cardinals at home. It was a continuation of a season that has been stellar since May. From the All-Star break to the end of the series against the Cards, Rodgers slashed .395/.427/.519, and his 32 hits since the All-Star break led the Majors.
His eyes and brain were more impressive than his bat.
After Thursday’s 8-6 victory over the Cardinals, when he knocked a three-run homer among his four hits, Rodgers spoke with pride about his growing recognition of how he is being pitched.
“Guys are starting to push me off the plate a little bit, then go away,” Rodgers said. “I’m starting to figure it out. Every day is a learning curve. It is a little bit of a compliment. I’ve still got to go up there and do my job. I’m not looking on the edges early in the count. I’m trying to get something and drive it, but with two strikes I try to use my bat-to-ball skills.”
When Rodgers was hitting .178 in April, hitting coach Dave Magadan told him, “In two months, we're gonna be laughing about this.” Magadan didn’t say that lightly. He saw how Rodgers was working through the struggles. Rodgers has discussed his disdain for weak grounders to shortstop. Magadan added that he hates striking out or being out-thought by a pitcher, and despises missing a pitch he believes he should drive.
“It’s not just him saying, ‘It’s a matter of time,’” Magadan said. “It’s him saying, ‘Why am I doing that? Why am I not getting the ball in the air?’ He always wants to hit the ball where it’s pitched, and keep getting better at it.
“It comes with him understanding his swing, which makes it easier for a hitting coach. If they don’t understand their swing, you have to teach them first. If you know your swing like he does, it’s, ‘Let’s do this and it’s going to create this and help me hit the ball more consistently hard.’”