Rockies’ Bud Black hoping slumping catching duo will improve

Colorado Rockies starting pitcher German Marquez ...

The statistics are sobering.

Rockies catchers Dom Nunez and Elias Diaz had a combined batting average of .158 entering Friday night’s game at Cincinnati, by far the worst mark in the majors. On the road, it was .104.

Nunez, at least, has shown some power, hitting five home runs and six doubles and driving in 16 runs in 41 games. But he’s also striking out 39.9% of the time and is hitting .171 (.100 on the road). His strikeout percentage is the fourth-highest in the majors for players with at least 102 plate appearances.

Diaz has been even worse: .141 average (.109 on the road), one home run and six RBIs in 33 games. His strikeout rate is 23.9%. With runners in scoring position, he’s hitting .059 (2-for-34).

Manager Bud Black didn’t sugarcoat the issue.

“It’s been a little bit of a dark hole for us the last number of years,” Black said Friday. “During my tenure here (since 2017) it’s been a little light.

“We really felt as though these two guys, Elias and Dom, would provide an offensive component. And I still think they will. … I think in the second half we are going to see more production, especially from Elias. I don’t see his average staying right around where it is now. I do think there is some power in there. But yes, it’s been frustrating.”

Black added that he’s talked to both catchers about cutting down on strikeouts.

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During spring training, Nunez, who essentially replaced Tony Wolters on the roster, said he expected to be one of the best-hitting catchers in baseball. That’s proving to be much tougher than he expected. As Black noted, taking on the duties behind the plate in the majors is a big adjustment. Oftentimes, the offense suffers.

“You don’t know the (workload) until you go through it,” Black said. “And we have told Dom that a couple of different times this season. The demands are great, and at the big-league level they are compounded much more than in the minor leagues.”

Nunez has heated up a bit recently, reaching base in four straight games with two doubles, two RBIs and …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Sports


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