10/08/09 2:41 PM ET
Tracy juggles lineup seeking a spark
Right-handed Spilborghs will start in place of All-Star Hawpe
By Corey Brock / MLB.com
Ryan Spilborghs got the start in right field for All-Star Brad Hawpe, a left-handed hitter who has struggled mightily in the second half of the season.
Spilborghs, a right-handed batter, had two doubles against Hamels in an April 10 outing at Coors Field. Hamels allowed seven runs in 3 2/3 innings in one of his worst starts of the season.
"There's been certain things that we've been searching for from a consistency standpoint offensively over a period of time now," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said.
"I recall the two doubles that Spilborghs has against Hamels, both of which are drives to the gap," Tracy said.
"Statistics to me don't tell the whole story. Your gut also tells you something. But they do lead you to certain conversations. When you're dealing with a guy [Hamels] that over the course of this year right-handed hitters are hitting 40 points higher in almost 600 league at-bats and 20 home runs having been hit off of him, you're not doing yourself a disservice by putting a couple extra right-handed bats in the lineup."
Tracy, as he was apt to doing in the regular season, flip-flopped left fielder Carlos Gonzalez and center fielder Dexter Fowler, allowing Gonzalez to hit leadoff Thursday. Gonzalez had two hits against lefty Cliff Lee in a 5-1 loss in Game 1.
The move was partially designed to break up the lefties in the Rockies lineup. Gonzalez is a left-handed batter, Fowler a switch-hitter followed by the left-handed-hitting Todd Helton and then right-hander Troy Tulowitzki.
Inserting Spilborghs, a career .294 hitter against lefties, meant sitting Hawpe, an All-Star. But Hawpe, who hit .320 with 14 home runs and 59 RBI's in the first half, hit .240 with nine home runs and 27 RBI's in the second half.
Hawpe went 0-for-3 against Lee on Wednesday with one strikeout. Tracy hopes that by adding Spilborghs that the Rockies can have better results against the Phillies than they did on Wednesday when they only avoided a shutout with a run in the ninth inning.
"This is another very special pitcher that we're dealing with, that has the experience in the postseason, as a matter of fact the MVP of the World Series a couple years ago, knows how to pitch, knows how to keep people in a rocking chair, so to speak," Tracy said of Hamels.
"It's as I said yesterday after the ballgame, it's a new day today, and there's nobody sitting in our clubhouse that's overanalyzing anything that took place yesterday because there's very little, if anything, to overanalyze. They beat us; it's that simple."
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.