Deadline in rearview, relaxed Story rakes 2

August 6th, 2021

DENVER -- ’s goodbye to the Rockies and Coors Field is a little longer than anticipated. But as long as he sticks around, why not use the time regaining his power swing?

Story homered twice Thursday afternoon in a 6-5 win over the Cubs. The first was a typical pull shot in the first inning, the second an opposite-way, two-run shot in the fifth as a crowd of 30,462 received its bonus chance to cheer him.

“It’s always good to be able to hit home runs, and it’s always good playing back home in front of these fans -- always a good time,” Story said.

The homers were Story’s first at Coors Field since July 4 -- not counting his Home Run Derby participation during All-Star Game festivities, of course. And just maybe Story is addressing some of the offensive issues that gave other teams pause before the Trade Deadline, when the Rockies didn’t bend to the offers and held onto the possibility of a compensatory Draft pick next summer should he turn down a qualifying offer and leave as a free agent.

When the rumors leading to the Trade Deadline came up empty, Story, who had anticipated being sent off to a postseason race, took a game off in San Diego. Since then, the Story of nearly six seasons in a Rockies uniform is gradually re-emerging.

Whether a right elbow injury that cost him 11 games in May and June has affected the overall performance is an open question, one scouts from other teams contemplated. But with Thursday’s 2-for-4 performance, Story is 7-for-19 (.368) with two homers and three doubles since his return from taking a day to “reset.”

In three games against the Cubs, Story hit several outside pitches the opposite way. His second homer, to right-center off Jake Jewell, was just his first opposite-field shot this season. His first homer of the day, the pull shot, came off starter Jake Arrieta.

Here is Story’s home run spray chart entering play on Thursday.

Not only was the inside-out stroke prevalent on the second homer, but so was strike-zone control. The count was full, and it ended a 10-pitch at-bat.

“I feel good about it,” Story said. “That just kind of comes naturally to me when I'm feeling good, and I'm moving the right way with good balance in the box. That's what shows up. It's not forced, but it’s obviously something that’s a good sign for me. I’m taking care of the pitches I want to take care of and ending the at-bat the way I want to.

“I would agree, throughout the season I haven’t consistently felt that. I felt that right before I got hurt.”

While the Rockies have said they hope Story stays, chances are considered narrow. So his good works are more likely to play into the bidding than help the Rockies beyond this year. But a couple guys who figure to be around next year -- Connor Joe and Sam Hilliard -- also went deep Thursday. And all three players had their chance to model the “home run shades” that Hilliard ordered when, he said, he typed “Sick Shades” into the search bar.

Story is all in on the dugout fun.

“They’re terrible to see out of, but it's funny, man,” Story said. “It's something that we can rally around.”

The strife around the Deadline hasn’t affected Story’s standing with his teammates.

“Trevor has always been well-liked and well-respected on our team, and he will continue to be,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “When anybody goes deep, there's a great feeling because they all like each other. But when one of your big boys goes deep, the guys like that because they know what he means to this team.”

Story can settle back into his role with the only team he has known.

“I think I’m in that mode,” Story said. “It’s a lot easier to do it now that those things have passed. That’s what it’s all about for me, playing this game because I enjoy it. That’s when I’m at my best.”