The Rockies’ Charlie Blackmon knew he wasn’t going to hit .500, as he was through Aug. 17, no matter how short the season. He told us all that .400 would be a stretch over 60 games. So no need to give him a hard time about falling back to Earth.
He went into Saturday hitting .417, which is highest in the best baseball league on said planet. After a 15-game hit streak earlier this season, he entered Saturday against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on a seven-game run.
Blackmon is doing fine. Let us count the ways:
1. He still has a feel for his swing.
“I feel OK -- not everything is going my way like it was a week or two ago,” Blackmon said. “I’m getting pitched well. I’m making some mistakes, which is normal, taking some good swings. I feel prepared.
“I’ve just been, I don’t want to say unlucky. I’m in position to play well and I just haven’t done that great the past week.”
2. After his preseason bout with COVID-19, he felt unable to do his normal level of preparation and maintenance. How is he feeling now?
“I feel normal,” he said. “There are no lingering effects. I feel like a baseball player. I will get tired when we play seven or eight games in a row. I think we have 13 days, off-day, 20 -- that’s going to be a lot of baseball to try to play without any breaks.
“But at the same time, I haven’t already played 80-something games, what we would normally play, to get us into August.”
3. The Rockies began the year 11-3, and Blackmon believes another roll is possible.
“We’re having a little bit of a lull on the hitting side, we haven’t been quite sharp on the pitching side, and those have kind of synced up at the wrong time, and that makes it tough,” he said. “I wouldn’t say that is caused by fatigue. You just have ups and downs in a baseball season and we have a couple people down at the same time. We’ve just got to ride that out.
“That is unlikely to happen for the rest of the season. We’re fine. I think we’ll turn it around and play really good baseball for the rest of the season.”
4. He understands having to serve as designated hitter periodically, as he did Saturday.
“It’s something of a necessary evil for this year,” Blackmon said. “I don’t really like DH-ing, but the other option would be to maybe sit out a game in order to rest. I don’t think it’s a great idea for me to play these 20 games in a row as a right fielder. That’s a good way to make guys tired, put them at risk for injury or, at the very least, keep them from being very productive.”
5. He’ll take his self-evaluation -- and, when watching others, his eyes -- over currently recognized defensive metrics.
“Honestly, I think the defensive metrics are worthless … anything that’s park-adjusted is garbage, in my opinion,” said Blackmon, who, like many outfielders whose home is Coors Field, has been dinged by the metrics, whether in center (2014-18) or right (2019-20). “I think I’ve been a pretty good outfielder for a while. I feel very comfortable in right field now. It took me awhile to get to that point. There are some balls I should have made plays on and I didn’t.
“It’s very hard to go from Coors Field to on the road. Balls act differently off the bat. That is something I constantly have to adjust; same thing with hitting.
“I’m looking and seeing players who I know are a certain caliber defender, and I’m seeing them graded out all over the map -- compared to other defenders who I know how good they are, and it just doesn’t add up.”