07/13/09 3:10 PM ET
Hawpe, Marquis humbly lifting Rockies
First-time All-Stars making big splash during club's ascent
By T.R. Sullivan and Thomas Harding / MLB.com
Hawpe, 30, sent Colorado into the All-Star break with his ninth-inning walk-off RBI double for an 8-7 victory over the Braves at Coors Field on Sunday. He also homered earlier in the game, and he heads into the 80th All-Star Game at Busch Stadium on Tuesday hitting .320 with 14 homers and 59 RBIs.
Marquis, 30, acquired from the Cubs in an offseason trade for righty reliever Luis Vizcaino, is 11-6 with a 3.65 ERA. Seven of his wins have come after Rockies losses.
"I've always said that a team needs a stopper, a guy who can stop losing streaks or slow down the other team," Hawpe said. "That's what he is. It doesn't matter how hot the other team is, he can beat them. Without him, we wouldn't be one of the top teams in the National League right now."Colorado also wouldn't be there without Hawpe, who is emerging as one of the team's leaders in his sixth season. "I'll get on guys," Hawpe said. "If a young guy makes a stupid throw, throws to the wrong base or is running for no reason, I'll get on him. But I try to keep it positive. I know how tough this game is. You don't need others giving you a hard time, you need somebody to remind you that you're still good enough to be playing at this level." Around the media, Hawpe is known for deflecting accolades. He's similar around his teammates.
"We say how good of a swing he has or how good of a year he's having, and he changes the subject right then and there -- he's one of the best at that," Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki said.
Second baseman Clint Barmes, who was selected with Hawpe in the 2000 First-Year Player Draft, said his deep friendship with Hawpe makes seeing him in the Midsummer Classic special. Barmes has watched Hawpe transition from a collegiate first baseman at Louisiana State University to an outfielder with a feared arm.
Barmes noted that Hawpe often is the one with quiet, encouraging words for a struggling teammate. If it sounds familiar, it is. Hawpe credits much of his success and the growth of the club to his mentor, first baseman Todd Helton.
"He's been a great teammate who will do anything for you," Barmes said of Hawpe. "He's always willing to pump a person up. He's got that personality, not to mention what he does on the field."
Marquis has often been looked upon as a middle-of-the-rotation guy on staffs in Atlanta that included Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz; St. Louis with Chris Carpenter and Mark Mulder or the Cubs with Carlos Zambrano, Ted Lilly and Ryan Dempster. But with the Rockies, Marquis has begun to emerge with Aaron Cook as one of the veteran leaders of the staff."I went in there just trying to be a piece of the puzzle," Marquis said. "I just try to fill in and fit in [while] obviously looking to help the team win. If one of the young guys has a question, I'm there. But I'm just excited to be a part of something special in Colorado with a chance to go back to the playoffs." Rockies reliever Josh Fogg said having Marquis is like having an extra pitching coach.
"He's really good at looking at people and seeing what they do," Fogg said. "He can look at people and offer advice, kind of tweak little things here and there. For some reason, he's got that innate ability to look at the mechanics of your swing, or pitching or golf swing, anything."
Right-hander Aaron Cook, who went to the All-Star Game last year and, at 8-3 with a 3.98 ERA this season, had an argument to go again, said he celebrated when the Rockies acquired Marquis. Now everyone is happy about it.
"It's been neat to watch," Cook said. "Dan [O'Dowd, the Rockies' general manager] was really trying to put another piece of the puzzle in place. That piece is somebody who could go out there and chew up a lot of innings, somebody who's always been a winner. For him to come in and do what he's done has been a huge lift for our team."
Now both Hawpe and Marquis are members of the NL All-Star team in St. Louis."When you're having a good season, this is always in the back of your mind," Marquis said. "You just hope that other players, coaches and managers recognize what you're doing as a player. This is a great honor."