Colvin has surprising success against 3 stars
By Gordon Wittenmyer email@example.com June 10, 2011 11:10PM
Updated: August 3, 2011 7:18PM
PHILADELPHIA — When Mike Quade talked the other day about getting slumping sophomore Tyler Colvin some opportunities to play during the Phillies series, at least one reporter smirked at the suggestion.
Opportunity? The kid hadn’t had a hit since April, and the Phillies had Cy Young winners Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee going in the series, along with another 20-game winner, Roy Oswalt.
But the Cubs manager answered with the numbers.
And when Colvin answered with an infield single off Halladay in his first at-bat Friday, those numbers jumped off the page: 6-for-13 (.462) against the trio with a double and homers off Lee and Oswalt.
“My secret?’’ Colvin said. “I don’t think there is a secret. They’re great pitchers, and they all throw strikes. It’s one of those things where I was a rookie last year and everybody was trying to figure me out, and it seemed like I got a decent pitch to hit against them and did something with it.’’
Colvin’s third-inning hit Friday was his third in as many at-bats and fourth plate appearance in a row reaching base — after a 0-for-34 skid dating to late April and broken up in May by a two-week demotion to the minors.
Two innings after he had a go-ahead home run in the ninth Thursday turned into a double by a video review and fan-interference ruling, Colvin led off the 11th with a single and scored the winning run on a two-out throwing error.
“Got a couple hits, so that was pretty nice, and they were pretty timely,’’ said Colvin, who puts this year’s struggles more on himself than pitchers changing their approaches much against him.
“Honestly, it feels about the same,’’ he said of the pitching. “As long as I’m patient enough to get the pitch I can handle, I feel like I’m still getting a pitch an at-bat to do something with. It’s just whether I can square it up the way I want to.
“Lately it feels good. I’ve been getting pitches and putting them in play. Not trying to do too much.’’
The last two games are at least a good start toward keeping his big-league job when outfielder Reed Johnson (back) and infielder/outfielder Jeff Baker (groin) return from the DL during the Brewers series next week.
“We’ve got a lot of people here to make decisions on,’’ Quade said. “It’s not going to help Tyler to put any more pressure on himself. Just build on what he did [Thursday]. And I think he will.’’
No problem. Just look at who’s pitching for the other guys the rest of the weekend.