DENVER -- Raimel Tapia was out of the lineup for the third straight game, and the way he looked before Sunday's finale against the Dodgers illustrated why.
A speedy sparkplug of a leadoff hitter, Tapia entered the outfield in a slow, pained shuffle, played light catch and shuffled off. He has had just one at-bat this series.
“It’s not anything more than he isn’t feeling well, but I think he’ll be available today,” bench coach/acting manager Mike Redmond said Sunday morning.
Four Rockies are out due to MLB's COVID and contact tracing protocol -- pitchers Antonio Senzatela, Jhoulys Chacín and Yency Almonte, and outfielder Yonathan Daza -- plus manager Bud Black and first-base coach Ron Gideon were not available for the third straight game.
Tapia clearly is ill, but it's not related to the other absences. Redmond said the Rockies are better when Tapia is his spry and chipper self as he attempts to stabilize his performance. Tapia hit .320 his first 28 games, .196 his next 25, .415 the next 18 and, going into Sunday, was hitting .175 over his last 18.
When he goes well …
“That’s a huge part of success, when he is leading off and solidifying that spot in the lineup,” Redmond said. “So we’re looking for a big second half.”
The second spot
Rookie second baseman Brendan Rodgers hit second in the order for the third straight game and the fifth time this season. Daza and Garrett Hampson have gotten the most reps there. But batting second could become a more common occurrence for Rodgers.
“Buddy and I like him in the 2-hole,” Redmond said. “He’s done a good job, the at-bats have been good and he’s getting his swing off.
“He has also played really good defense at second base, and can move over to shortstop. He has a lot of value to us.”
The Rockies announced All-Star righty Germán Márquez will start Tuesday’s opener of a two-game set with the Mariners. They did not announce a starter for Wednesday, which opens the possibility that lefty Austin Gomber will return from his left forearm strain. Gomber threw 62 pitches in a four-inning injury rehab assignment for Triple-A Albuquerque on Friday.
If the starter is Gomber, he will likely not be announced until the club is able to activate him.