Vinny Castilla knows the expectations that come with batting in the middle of the order. He’s doing his best to live up to them.
“When Larry and Preston went down, and I was going to hit fourth, I had more responsibility, especially with the game on the line,” Castilla said. “I was prepared for that physically and mentally.”
Castilla has handled that responsibility well in recent games. He is batting .370 (17-for-46) during a 12-game hitting streak.
He went 3-for-5 with a game-winning two-run homer in the ninth Monday to lead the Rockies to a 7-6 win over the Philadelphia Phillies at Coors Field.
“He’s been huge. He’s been huge with the glove, he’s been huge with the bat, obviously,” Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said. “He was a huge offseason acquisition for us.”
The homer was Castilla’s 266th as a third baseman, breaking a tie with Brooks Robinson for ninth on the all-time list for the position.
The Rockies had lost five of six before winning two straight against the Phillies. They have won three consecutive games just once this season, from April 11-14.
Cincinnati, which has won three straight, is also looking to tie its longest winning streak of the season.
“I’m always confident. You have to be confident to play this game and have any kind of success,” Graves said. “Obviously, things are going well right now, but it’s a long year and I’m aware of that. I’ve learned that you can’t get too high or too low.”
Graves has closed all but three of Cincinnati’s wins this season.