Rockies’ Charlie Blackmon heating up since All-Star break: “We’re just seeing normal Chuck again” – The Denver Post

Charlie Blackmon’s deadpan assessment of his recent surge makes sense as a bright spot in an otherwise lost Rockies season.

“I don’t feel like I’ve been really terrible,” Blackmon said.

That’s an understatement. Lately, the 35-year-old outfielder has turned back the clock. Blackmon entered Tuesday night’s game batting .345 (20-for-58) since the All-Star break. His 12.9% strikeout rate this year ranks sixth-lowest in the majors and is Blackmon’s lowest rate since 2012.

Manager Bud Black said: “We’ve seen Chuck with opposite-field base hits. We’ve seen Chuck pull the ball. We’ve seen Chuck shorten his swing to get the bat on the ball and a base hit. He’s taking his walks.”

Blackmon struggled to begin the season. He carried a .184 batting average through 23 games in April and March. But it seems teammates never lost faith that Blackmon would turn things around.

“We’re just seeing normal Chuck again,” infielder Ryan McMahon said.

McMahon wins award. On Tuesday, the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association announced the 30 preliminary winners of its 2021 Heart and Hustle Award. The honor is voted on by former players and is given to those who “demonstrate a passion for the game of baseball and best embody the values, spirit and traditions of the game.”

McMahon — batting .313 with 11 RBI, five doubles, and one homer over his last 22 games — received the award for Colorado.

“We don’t quit. That group culture has kind of pushed me into it,” McMahon said.” I appreciate the recognition, but it’s not just me. It’s fun getting out with these guys and playing that kind of baseball.”

Injury news. Black provided roster health status updates to begin a three-game home series against the Cubs.

Leadoff man Raimel Tapia (toe) returned to the lineup against Chicago after sitting out his previous two games.

“We think he’s OK,” Black said. “We have him in the lineup. So, that’s a good sign. But we’re going to double-check his status as he goes through the early portion of the day prior to the game. But we’re optimistic that he’s fine.”

Starting pitcher Antonio Senzatela (COVID-19 list) threw four innings in a rehab game over the weekend.

“He feels good and he’s here,” Black said. “He’s throwing a side session today. We anticipate him jumping into our rotation here in a couple of days. We’ll make that more definite in the coming days. Obviously, we have to make some player moves for a couple of guys coming back here shortly.”

On Deck

Cubs RHP Alec Mills (4-4, 4.55 ERA) at Rockies RHP Jon Gray (7-6, 3.62)
6:40 p.m. Wednesday, Coors Field
TV: AT&T SportsNet
Radio: KOA 850 AM/94.1 FM

Jon Gray is set to make his 20th start of the season after a stellar past two months for Colorado. The right-hander has gone 3-0 with a 2.61 ERA since being reinstated from the injured list (elbow). Gray is comfortable and confident since being kept at the trade deadline with the Rockies working on a deal to keep him in Colorado. One big reason why: Gray’s comfort at Coors Field. He is 5-2 with a 3.14 ERA at home this season over 10 starts. Gray has faced the Cubs twice in his career going 1-1 with a 5.25 ERA, four walks and seven strikeouts. Mills will make his 10th start of the season on Wednesday. He gave up a career-high nine hits in his last outing against the Reds. Mills has not faced the Rockies previously.

Trending: Entering Tuesday night, the Rockies had gone 26-26 for the seventh-best winning percentage in the NL since June 1.

At issue: Last week, Colorado hit three-or-more homers in consecutive road games (July 30-31 at the Padres) for only the 18th time in franchise history.

Pitching probables

Thursday: Cubs RHP Jake Arrieta (5-10, 6.20) at Rockies RHP Antonio Senzatela (2-8, 4.58), 1:10 p.m., ATTRM
Friday: Marlins LHP Trevor Rogers (7-6, 2.45) at Rockies RHP German Marquez (9-8, 3.51), 6:40 p.m., ATTRM
Saturday: Marlins RHP Sandy Alcantara (6-9, 2.12) at Rockies LHP Austin Gomber (8-6, 4.04), 6:10 p.m., ATTRM

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