Notes: Holliday wants championship
Slugger eschews personal awards, wants team to win Series
DENVER -- Matt Holliday insisted he doesn't care about the National League batting title that's within his reach. He didn't have to reassess his priorities before Saturday night's game against the Diamondbacks.
Holliday entered Saturday's game with a .339 batting average, barely behind the Braves' Chipper Jones.
As Holliday discussed his statistics, the Padres were a run ahead of the Brewers late in Saturday's game. But because the Brewers came back to win, 4-3, in 11 innings, the Rockies gained new life that could be extended with a victory over the D-backs.
"It'd be nice," Holliday said of the batting title. "It'd be great. It signifies having a good season. I'm not all that concerned about it. If it happens, great. If it doesn't, I won't lose sleep over it."
Much of the recent focus has been on Holliday being noticed enough for voting members of the Baseball Writers Association of America to choose him the NL Most Valuable Player Award. But the batting title isn't based on thoughts of sports writers.
One reason the batting title, which players appreciate more as the years go by, is not getting attention is the fact Holliday has had such a strong all-around season. He also has 36 home runs and entered Saturday with 133 RBIs. The Phillies' Ryan Howard had an RBI earlier in the day to tie Holliday.
Also, manager Clint Hurdle notes that Holliday has made himself a strong defender.
"He's worked very hard on his defense," Hurdle said. "He works very hard on his offense. He watches a lot of film on pitching. He looks for tendencies. He doesn't have an ego, where he's going to get one thing done one way. He'll hit the ball to right field, he hits the ball to left field. He's become a very good breaking-ball hitter.
"I think, as big as anything, is a lot of guys when they do all that, they forget about the other side of the ball. And he's probably put more emphasis on the other side of the ball in Spring Training this year than ever before, and he's become as good, I believe, as any left fielder in the National League."
Holliday, a bonus baby coming out of high school in Stillwater, Okla., immediately impressed the Rockies with his batting practice sessions at Minor League stops and during Spring Training. But the solid average proves he brings more than power.
"I take pride in being a good hitter," he said. "I wouldn't necessarily be happy just to be a power hitter."
Leather masters: The Rockies entered Saturday with one error in their last 12 games, and their .98952 fielding percentage going into Saturday (with 65 errors in 160 games) ranks as the highest in baseball history. Last season's Red Sox hold the current full-season record at .98910.
Up next: Depending on how the Rockies perform Saturday night, rookie right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez (4-4, 4.52 ERA) will start one of the most important regular-season games in club history on Sunday afternoon at 1:05 p.m. MT, or he'll pitch a farewell to a strong season. The Diamondbacks will start left-hander Doug Davis (13-12, 4.25).
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.