Colorado Rockies' Injury Woes Has Club Leaning On Lesser-Known Game-Changers

By Jim Heath
Jonathan Hererra Colorado Rockies
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

A pair of lesser-known names, Jonathan Herrera and Charlie Blackmon, were the difference makers as the Colorado Rockies wrapped up their three-game set with NL West rival San Diego Padres, taking two of three.

Herrera has had the unenviable position of filling in for injured Rockies short stop Troy Tulowitzki. During his time playing the position, Herrera has set the standards for hustle points, timely hits and simply doing the small things necessary to put the Rockies in a competitive position.

Wednesday night was a prime example of the value that Hererra has brought to the Rockies. His defensive presence in the field was matched by his timely contributions from the plate. In the second inning, Herrera hit a tough 0-2 pitch deep enough to score Todd Helton from third. In the sixth, he slid head-first in to the bag on a bunt single, later scoring in the inning.

In a game where every run counted, it was simply effort that made Herrera a game-changer.

Blackmon, on the other hand, was motivated by an almost costly misjudgment of a ball in center field. Following a walk to Chase Headley, Jorge de la Rosa offered up a two-seam fastball to Carlos Quentin, who wasted no time crushing the ball to an awaiting Blackmon in center.

If Blackmon had jumped, looked up, moved, possibly even breathed differently, the ball would have landed safely in his glove. Instead, his “Not So Top Ten” play resulted in the ball and De La Rosa leaving the game. The outfielder repented, though, hitting a triple at the top of the eighth and scoring Corey Dickerson.

It ended up as the Rockies’ winning run, as he then robbed Logan Forsythe a sure hit in the bottom of the eighth.

Lesser-known names were the game-changers Wednesday simply because lesser-known names are more the rule than the exception in 2013 for Colorado. That could be on the verge of changing. Following rehab outings with Colorado Springs, Tulowitzki and Dexter Fowler will rejoin the Rockies’ lineup during the road trip versus the Los Angeles Dodgers if evaluations go smoothly.

Of course, that is a rather lofty “if”, especially this season. The notion that a series of events could go in favor of the Rockies seems almost preposterous.

That said, there’s always hope. Then again, hope can be a dangerous thing for Rockies fans – especially in 2013.

Jim Heath is a writer for Follow him on Twitter @jim_heath, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

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