Nolan Arenado wondered what all the fuss was about as the media throng engulfed him in the Rockies clubhouse.
Sure, the third baseman was aware he’d made a nice play to save a run in the sixth inning of Colorado’ 5-1 win over Arizona Thursday afternoon. But in Arenado’s mind, it was just another day at the office, albeit in front of 41,410 fans at Coors Field.
I asked Arenado if he ever takes a moment during the game to appreciate his latest diamond gem.
“No, never,” the five-time Gold Glove winner said. “I just try to be ready for the next ball. That’s all I try to do. I’ll probably look at the replay when I get home and watch the video and the highlights. I just try to stay ready every time.”
In case you missed a replay of the latest episode of the “Arenado Show,” here’s how it went down:
Diamondbacks right fielder Steven Souza led off the sixth with a double and advanced to third on a passed ball. With one out, Arenado crept up the third baseline toward home, looking to cut off the run. Seattle’s John Ryan Murphy scorched a 99 mph shot to Arenado. The ball glanced off Arenado’s glove and popped into the the air, but he barehanded the ball and in one swift motion, threw an 85 mph strike to catcher Chris Iannetta, who tagged out Souza at the plate. Reliever Scott Oberg struck out Chris Owings to end the inning and keep Arizona’s lead at 1-0.
“I already knew where I was going to go with it, I had a feeling (Souza) was going home,” Arenado said, matter-of-factly. “I already had it planned out in my head before, what I was going to do. But luckily enough, it popped up and it was just right in front of me. Chris took care of the rest.”
What amazed me, and everyone else in the press box and in the stands, I’m sure, was the incredible instinct, reflexes, hand-eye coordination and bravado it took to pull off the play.
Manager Bud Black was similarly wowed.
“The thing that I dug the most was that the throw was in the right spot for Chris to make the play,” Black said. “Great play by Nolan. To keep the ball in front, then to bare-hand it and then make the proper throw to allow us to make the play? It was awesome.”
Arenado practices many of the plays that leave us in awe. Not so the magic he concocted Thursday afternoon.
“Those are like my nightmares,” he said with a grin. “Infield in, righty, top-spinner. Those are the ones I don’t like. Those are the ones you always get uncomfortable with. Luckily enough, it was just low enough to where I could keep it in front. I don’t like those. But like I said, luckily I got the out.”
I’m not sure luck had much to do with it.
We don’t know how long Arenado is going to play third base for the Rockies. He could say “goodbye” after next season. So savor every moment he’s on the diamond, because he might be the best we ever see.
Saturday starter? Black announced that right-hander Chad Bettis will not be able to come off the disabled list in time for Saturday’s start against the Mariners. Bettis is sidelined by a persistent blister on the middle finger of his right hand. Black will announce Saturday’s starter on Friday.
“We all — we meaning Chad, the pitching coaches and I — deemed that he needs more time … to where there’s total confidence that he could start a game and finish a game,” Black said.
Bettis threw about 40 pitches in a bullpen session Tuesday and came away feeling he had made progress. There wasn’t any pain, which was a step forward, especially considering the discomfort he felt when pitching against the Dodgers on July 1, when lasted just three innings and went on the DL.
Bettis has never had to deal with a blister before, so he’s trying all sorts of remedies, including slightly changing his fastball grip. Bettis has also soaked his finger in pickle juice, salt and rice, and also applied moisturize.
Mariners TBA at Rockies RHP Antonio Senzatela (3-2, 5.34 ERA), 6:40 p.m. Friday; ATTRM, 850 AM
The Mariners have not yet announced who will start Friday night’s game at Coors Field. Senzatela, recently added to the rotation because of the demotion of Jon Gray to Triple-A and a finger injury suffered by Chad Bettis, will be making his second consecutive start vs. the Mariners. He pitched relatively well at Seattle on Sunday, until he served up a three-run home run to Ryon Healy in the sixth inning. Senzatela was ultimately charged with six runs off of five hits, with three walks over six innings. Senzatela, 23, made his first big-league start of the season July 3, pitching seven shutout innings against the Giants, allowing three hits, walking one and fanning four. — Patrick Saunders, The Denver Post
Saturday: Mariners LHP Wade LeBlanc (5-0, 3.39) at Rockies TBA, 7:10 p.m., ATTRM
Sunday: Mariners RHP Mike Leake (8-6, 4.36) at Rockies LHP Tyler Anderson (6-3, 3.76), 1:10 p.m., ATTRM
Monday-Thursday: All-star break