Colorado Rockies manager Clint Hurdle is trying to determine who to bat cleanup. The way his entire lineup has swung the bats this weekend, it hasn’t really mattered.
The Rockies hope to maintain their recent offensive surge and try for their first three-game sweep at Petco Park on Sunday when they complete a series against the San Diego Padres.
Matt Holliday served as the Rockies’ cleanup hitter their first three games before he missed Friday’s game with the flu. Garrett Atkins went 3-for-5 in a 10-4 victory on Friday batting in that slot, and Hurdle decided to stick with it Saturday.
“I do want to roll with it,” he said. “I think there’s validation for either guy to hit in that spot.”
The Rockies followed up Friday’s 13-hit effort with 17 hits in Saturday’s 12-4 victory. Atkins had a two-run double in five at-bats and Holliday went 2-for-6 in the No. 5 spot, but Colorado got some impressive production from the bottom of the order for a second straight rout.
Although the competition for the coveted cleanup spot behind Todd Helton is intense, both players realize they need to produce to stay in the lineup. Holliday went 3-for-13 in his stint batting fourth while Atkins is 4-for-10.
“Obviously, they’re going to do the same thing that they did to Matt earlier, avoid Todd so they can get to me,” Atkins said. “My job is to stay aggressive. I’ll get men on base and I’ll try to drive them in.”
Former Padre Miguel Ojeda went 2-for-4 with four RBIs batting eighth and Jason Smith added three hits in the seventh spot Saturday for the Rockies, who batted around in a seven-run first inning and never looked back.
Colorado’s only three-game sweep at San Diego was from April 17-19, 2001 at Qualcomm Stadium.
Rockies starter Jason Jennings has never lost at Petco Park, going 2-0 with a 3.58 ERA in four starts. Jennings is 6-4 with a 5.15 ERA in 16 career outings against the Padres.
The 27-year-old right-hander pitched well in his first start in the season opener, giving up one run and six hits over seven innings in a 3-2, 11-inning victory over Arizona on Monday.
San Diego has dropped three straight since winning its season opener. The Padres have yielded 15 extra-base hits in the first two games of this series and have a bullpen ERA of 7.84 in that span.
Padres ace Jake Peavy will try to halt the losing streak as he enters 4-2 with a 3.31 ERA in eight career starts against Colorado. Peavy faced the Rockies twice last season and went 1-0 with a 3.68 ERA.
Peavy seeks a similar result to his outing on opening day. He went seven innings and allowed one run and four hits over seven innings in a 6-1 victory over San Francisco on Monday.
The 24-year-old right-hander will likely be caught by Mike Piazza, who received a scheduled day off on Saturday. Piazza is hitting .182 (2-for-11) through his first three games.