Rockies’ Charlie Blackmon shows signs of busting out of his slump

As April turns to May, Charlie Blackmon appears to be breaking out of his early-season funk. For the struggling Rockies, that would be as welcome as spring sunshine.

The veteran right fielder, who turns 35 on July 1, is starting to resemble the player who hit .331 to win the National League batting title in 2017. Entering Friday night’s game at Arizona, Blackmon was 5-for-11 with two doubles and three RBIs over the last three games of Colorado’s current seven-game road trip.

“I think things are trending in the right direction,” Blackmon said before Friday’s game. “It’s good to see some hits happen on the road, have a few good at-bats.”

Blackmon hit 2-for-4 with a two-run double in Colorado’s 5-3 loss to the Diamondbacks on Thursday night at Chase Field. Blackmon pulled the ball to right field on the double, a sign that his timing is returning. He started breaking out of his slump by taking the ball the other way.

“I think hitting the ball the other way means you’re doing a lot of things right,” Blackmon said.

His resurgence began Tuesday night at San Francisco when he hit a first-inning, two-run double, snapping an 0-for-16 skid. That hit also ended a career-long, five-game hitless streak.

Manager Bud Black, who earlier this week dropped Blackmon from the cleanup spot to sixth in the order, is seeing incremental signs of improvement, even though Blackmon had hit just one home run through his first 22 games.

“A little better for Chuck, a little better,” Black said after Thursday’s game. “He got that low changeup and went out and hooked it and pulled it down the right-field line. Then he (put) a good swing on the ball up the middle (in the sixth inning). So, again, Charlie will get his hits. Hopefully, this is a sign, with a couple hits, and hopefully, it continues.”

No panic. As the veteran position player, Blackmon has become something of a barometer for a Rockies team that came out of Thursday night with a 9-16 record. He still insists that the Rockies are fine.

“I think we’re good,” he said. “We’re doing a good job of being loose but very focused. And I think guys are hungry. Individually, I think there’s a lot to — I don’t want to say prove — but we’ve got a lot of young guys that need to go out and play well, and that’s what they’re trying to do. … I don’t see any negativity. I just see guys that they really want to perform.”

Rodgers runs. Brendan Rodgers, penciled in to be the starting second baseman, hit one of his biggest strides in his rehab from a strained hamstring that sidelined him during spring training. He started running on Thursday.

“He ran from first to home, pretty much right down the line,” Black said. “He did a number of those with pretty good intensity. He came out that fine — that hard burst to first base out of the batter’s box.”

Still, Rodgers is not ready to play in games yet.

“He’s going to run again today, so back-to-back days running, and the intensity effort is picking up. I wouldn’t quite say it’s a game-condition-type effort, but the effort level is pretty high. So, that’s encouraging.”

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