10/06/09 4:30 PM ET
Tulowitzki ready for second go-round
Shortstop struggled in '07 playoffs after stellar rookie year
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
Tulowitzki struggled in his first go-round in the playoffs as a rookie two years ago, batting .192 with a .267 on-base percentage in 11 games while also striking out 15 times in 41 at-bats. It was a far cry from the numbers he put up in the regular season that year that earned him a second-place finish in the balloting for the National League Rookie of the Year Award.
But even though he admittedly struggled on the big stage, Tulowitzki said that experience will come in handy when he gets his second chance at the postseason, starting Wednesday at 12:37 p.m. MT in Philadelphia, with the Rockies in the playoffs as the NL Wild Card winner.
"The experience is only going to help," Tulowitzki said. "Playing in big games helps you stay calm in the moment."
But as for a predication for his upcoming performance in this postseason, the ever-humble Tulowitzki won't quite bite with his team set to open the NL Division Series against the Phillies.
"I have confidence, but you never know what's going to happen," Tulowitzki said. "You can have a bad week and it even happens to the best guys in the game. I didn't swing the bat too well in the 2007 postseason, and hopefully I'll do better, but you can't guarantee anything in this game."
Tulowitzki, though, is about a good a bet as any player to break out offensively this postseason, as evidenced by his monster year at the plate this season in which he set career highs in batting average at .297, on-base percentage at .377, slugging percentage at .552 and home runs with 32.
But Tulowitzki shies away from talking about those numbers, as he'd much rather talk about the way his team bounced back from an 18-30 record in June to finish with a franchise-record 92 wins.
"I'm really happy for the team to reach the postseason, which was my main goal," Tulowitzki said. "I just wanted to be a good player for this team, and since we're there, I think it goes to show I had something to do with it. The personal numbers are nice, but it's all about winning for me."
So while Tulowitzki won't talk much about his excellent season, his double-play partner Clint Barmes can't help but gush about Tulowitzki, who has already established himself as one of the premier shortstops in the game in just his third full season in the Majors.
"He's just having a great year on both sides," Barmes said. "He makes my job easier with his talent and ability and range at shortstop. He's been a lot of fun to watch."
Tulowitzki should be plenty of fun to watch against the Phillies, a team he's had plenty of success against in the past. He's a career .288 hitter with three homers and eight RBIs in 14 career games against Philadelphia.
And he also has confidence in knowing that his team swept the Phillies two years ago in the NLDS on the way to the franchise's first and only World Series appearance.
"I think the familiarity with Philadelphia will help," Tulowitzki said. "They're a great club, but we've been there and we've won there before."
But if the Rockies are to win there again, a lot of it will rest on the ready shoulders of Tulowitzki.
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.