DENVER – Before each game at Coors Field, manager Bud Black addresses the media in the Rockies first base dugout. The focus typically pertains to the daily goings-on of Colorado, but can oftentimes touch on varied topics around the sport.
Here’s a taste of what some of that discussion was focused upon before game two of a four-game series with the Los Angeles Dodgers:
On the resiliency of the Rockies after a tough loss last night and coming back tonight:
“That’s been the nature of this group over the two years I’ve been here. Just walking around the clubhouse early, talking to the guys: DJ, Charlie, Nolan, Desi, Iannetta. They’re fine. They’re ready to play.”
“You can’t hang on to a bad game, a bad outing, a bad at bat - whatever it may be. You’ve got turn the page because the next day and the next game comes awful quick. You can’t be hanging on to poor outcomes and bad results because this game is based on being in a great frame of mind, being refreshed, being focused. The good players are really conditioned to move on past that.”
The challenges with pitching to a Dodgers team that leads the National League in home runs and walks:
-Black discussed the power throughout their lineup from the leadoff batter to the eighth hitter. Their selectivity can be a gift and a curse to a pitcher.
“Hopefully, Jon (Gray) can throw a lot of strike ones. I do think the Dodgers, as a group, want to work the count, want to get deeper, see pitches and get good hitter’s counts. You’ve got to combat that by pitching really aggressively in the strike zone because it’s a selective group.”
On closers throwing multiple innings and any evidence he’s seen about their effectiveness in these situations:
-Black responded by pointing to certain parameters in which managers use their closer in more than one inning such as multiple days off prior and the pitch count in that current outing.
“In last night’s case, Wade (Davis) had a very quick inning for the save and had two days off. In our communication with our pitchers every day, Wade felt great, so we gave him a head’s up that (one-plus inning) could happen in last night’s game.”
On David Dahl’s growth with the team this season:
- There’s a natural maturity that comes year-to-year, according to Black. Dahl’s injuries have helped him reflect on his style of play. Black is pleased with Dahl’s play over the past few games, but does acknowledge that it is a small sample size.
On declaring a young player the full-time starter after a solid streak of performances:
“I don’t think there’s a need to do that. That’s just me. I don’t think you have to give any hard absolutes on anything, really… With any young player, there’s a learning curve that takes time to really develop into a true big leaguer. For some guys, it happens fast. Tim Lincecum. Dustin Pedroia. But most players, it take a while to really entrench yourself as a big leaguer.”
On Antonio Senzatela’s health:
-After a good side session, Senzatela is doing well, as per Black and coaching staff. The head trainer, Keith Dugger, feels confident about Senzatela’s progress with his shoulder.
-Black also added that Mike Dunn threw a bullpen session for the first time and felt good. A schedule is being created for him in order to see if he can handle the progression to getting back to into game-shape.
On Nolan Arenado’s candidacy for NL MVP:
“I think he’s in the mix. He should be. If are conversations started, he should be in that group of players.”
On any additional growth Arenado can make this season:
-Black feels that Arenado has proved himself on the defensive side, obviously. Though he might expand the zone a bit when trying to do too much on the offensive side, Arenado has been consistent all season.
If he did it all over again, would Black be a rock star or an athlete:
“Professional athlete. I’ve never experienced the life of a rock star, but I have experienced one as a professional athlete. It’s pretty good.”
-Black threw batting practice to country music star Chris Stapleton and his band before the pre-game conference. Stapleton is in town tonight for a show at the Pepsi Center.