DENVER -- Rockies manager Jim Tracy said the reason for the recent absence of outfielder Dexter Fowler from the lineup is two-fold.
Fowler, who has started just one game since the Rockies returned to Denver on Tuesday, is 0-for-6 on the homestand, and Tracy said they're working with him on some of the mechanics of his swing.
But Tracy also said the emergence of Seth Smith in the No. 2 hole and in left field has provided a spark Tracy does not want to extinguish.
"We're starting to get ourselves sorted out offensively right now," Tracy said. "The runs were coming at a premium as far back as 10 days or so, and we needed offense. Seth Smith is providing some of that. He has to play."
Fowler has struggled this season with runners in scoring position (5-for-26, .192) and against right-handed pitchers (16-for-98, .163).
Meanwhile, Smith is 6-for-16 during the homestand (.375) with three homers and is batting .284 vs. right-handers.
"It's no disrespect to Dexter," Tracy said. "I haven't lost any confidence in Dexter. Right now, the dynamic of [center fielder Carlos Gonzalez] and Smith at the top of the order against right-handed pitching is something I will not take away."
Hawpe's contribution not lost on Tracy
DENVER -- On more than one occasion recently, Rockies manager Jim Tracy has made an effort to point out Brad Hawpe's quiet contributions to the ballclub.Tracy has referred to the "intangibles" or "under the radar" qualities that the right fielder exhibits to help build chemistry in the clubhouse or maintain consistency in the lineup. "He's actually a Rock of Gibraltar," Tracy said. "I don't want to call him an unsung hero, but he's a guy sometimes you could allow yourself to take for granted a little bit." Against the Dodgers, who the Rockies are trying to win a series against for the first time in two seasons, it's difficult to take Hawpe for granted. He's a career .352 (109-for-310) hitter against Los Angeles with 20 home runs and 76 RBIs. He is tied for seventh with Ellis Burks on the Rockies' all-time home run list (115) and the 2009 All-Star has started five straight season openers in right field for Colorado. "At a time when we weren't playing real good baseball a year ago, the first two months of the season, this guy was a model of consistency well beyond the All-Star break," Tracy said. "I'm not going to wear him out this year. I refuse to let that happen."
Rockies' bullpen getting it done
DENVER -- Whenever a starting pitcher leaves the game lately, the Rockies have been experiencing a real comfort in the relievers coming in to replace them.Joe Beimel, Matt Belisle and Matt Daley have been terrific in middle-relief situations, allowing just one hit in their last 7 2/3 combined innings. "We've got it in flow, and we don't need to put too much pressure on any one guy because we can all handle the load," Daley said. Since he was recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Thursday, Daley (0-1, 3.63) has appeared in each of the Rockies' three games and allowed just one hit while striking out a batter. "That's the way I want to be used," he said. "I want to be an everyday guy. It's kind of what I pride myself on -- to be available every single day." Beimel (1-0, 0.48) has been on a remarkable streak of 17 2/3 innings without allowing a run, the longest active streak in the National League. He recorded four outs in the first two games of the Rockies' series with the Dodgers with just five pitches and is tops among all big league relievers with an average of 12.1 pitches per inning. Belisle (1-1, 2.23) also has four strikeouts in four innings dating back to Tuesday. "It's a pickup from where he left off in the later part of last season," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "It's the same Matt Belisle that finished the deal in 2009."
Olivo putting it all together for Rockies
DENVER -- In previous big league stops, Miguel Olivo has shown prowess from the catcher position. Rockies fans are now getting a taste.Olivo has been dynamite at the plate and behind it, solidifying himself as the club's everyday catcher. In 18 games at Coors Field, he is hitting .455 (30-for-66) with six home runs and 20 RBIs. "Was he better than he was when he first showed up to us? There's no question," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "A lot of people deserve credit for this in the organization, but a lot of credit has to go to the individual you're talking about, because you can get all the information in the world -- and we're here to give it to him -- but unless you're going to go out and apply it, it becomes useless." Olivo has caught 13 attempted basestealers, best in the National League. But what has impressed most has been Olivo's speed on the bases. He has tripled in the last two games and has four stolen bases this season. "I've been playing in the league for a couple years and have been trying to show my speed every day," Olivo said. "I know I can run. "When I played in Chicago and Florida, people realized I had some speed. When I need to use it, I use it."
Joey Nowak is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.