Okay, Daniel Murphy isn't a big-time home run hitter. But he can hit. He does have a career .299 average. And he has hit 130 career home runs, including back-to-back seasons of 25 and 23 with the Nationals in 2016 and 2017. But this was ridiculous.
After hitting three home runs in 112 at-bats at Coors Field as a visitor, Murphy went to the plate in the eighth inning on Friday night against the Reds, the scored tied 2-2, having yet to hit a home run at Coors Field in 109 at-bats this season, his first as a member of the Rockies.
In the eighth inning, however, Murphy not only ended that homerless stretch, but he delivered the game-winning home run in a 3-2 victory, unloading two batters after David Dahl had homered to tie the score at 2-2. Lost in the talk about the home run was the run-scoring double Murphy delivered in the sixth inning for the only run the Rockies scored in seven innings against Reds starter Sonny Gray.
It's not like Murphy had been completly shut down at Coors Field. He is hitting .327 in his first 32 games in the park wearing a Rockies uniform. And he has 27 RBI in 110 at-bats compared to 10 in 112 at-bats at Coors Field as a visitor.
“It was a big swing,” Rockies manager Bud Black said of the home run. “I still think that ‘Murph’ is going to be big for us here in the second half. He had some good swings today, as well. He used the whole field. He’s very capable of doing what he did in the eighth.
“Good for ‘Murph.’ That was his first homer here at Coors. I think there’s more coming. My vision tells me that.”
AT THE PLATE
Fellow players, big-league managers and coaches did vote Dahl onto the All-Star team. They are taking notice of Dahl's emergence as an impact player in the Rockies lineup, where he has found a definite comfort zone at home.
On Friday night, it was Dahl, who walked ahead of Murphy's RBI-double in the sixth, and it was Dahl, who homered in the eighth to tie the game, two batters in front of Murphy's game-winning home run. Dahl is now hitting .309 for the season, built around a .373 average at Coors Field. Don't, however, discount him on the road. He may be hitting .245 outside of Coors Field, but he has 26 RBI in 39 road games, the same number of RBI that he has in 42 games at Coors.
ON THE MOUND
Wade Davis put the finishing touches on the Rockies win. After solo home runs by Dahl and Murphy in the bottom of the eighth put the Rockies up 3-2, Davis got the call to preserve the victory, and in nine pitches he disposed of the Reds. Davis has come under fire at times from Rockies fans. When he blows a save it isn't pretty. But he is successful, more often than not, and he doesn't waste a lot of time in the process.
Think about it. He is 7-for-9 in save situations at Coors Field. The two blown saves haven't been pretty. He's retired only four batters in the two games combined, and allowed eight base runners --five hits and three walks -- giving up six runs.
In his saves, however, he has dominated. He did give up two runs in an inning in a May 9 save against the Giants, but in the six other save situations he converted, he has worked 5 1/3 shutout innings, allowing two hits, and one walk, and striking out five.
The Rockies started the post-All-Star portion of the season in an impressive way -- an eighth-inning, come-from-behind, 4-3 victory against the Reds. But that's only a start.
The Rockies have had a winning record after the All-Star break in only eight of thier previous 26 seasons. Four of the eight seasons have resulted in post-season trips, including each of the top three. That fifth post-season year? The Rockies were 35-36 after the All-Star Break in 2017, their ninth best post-All-Star record.