Notes: Taveras hopes to get going
Rockies consider lineup change as leadoff man has struggled
BOSTON -- The return of center fielder Willy Taveras from a right quadriceps strain hasn't been the boon to the top of the Rockies' lineup that they'd hoped.
Taveras entered Thursday night's Game 2 of the World Series 1-for-15 at the plate since returning four games ago. The Rockies like having their usual lineup on the field and their preferred batting order, but manager Clint Hurdle conceded he could consider changing it if Taveras doesn't pick it up.
That task wouldn't exactly be easy against the Red Sox's Curt Schilling, who has a long list of big-game accomplishments. Taveras entered Game 2 with a brief 1-for-3 history vs. Schilling.
"Offensively, we haven't been on top of our game, so I'm evaluating everything as we move forward," Hurdle said. "We need to get some action going at the top of the lineup. I thought in this particular case, it would be appropriate to give Willy another shot up there.
"But we need to find a way to get some of our offensive game back. You've got to give credit to their pitching a little bit, too. But again, why are all these questions coming up? If we'd have won last night, they wouldn't be here at all."
The Rockies' 13-1 loss in Game 1, which ended a 10-game win streak and was just their second loss in 23 games, no doubt had something to do with the eight-day layoff between the National League Championship Series and the World Series. It most certainly had more to do with facing a red-hot Josh Beckett.
An adjustment could be to go with left-handed-hitting Cory Sullivan in Saturday's Game 3 against Red Sox right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka and adjust the lineup accordingly. No. 2 hitter Kazuo Matsui, who entered Thursday night leading the Rockies with 10 hits in eight postseason games, has experience batting leadoff.
But Hurdle was more interested in seeing if his preferred lineup can get going than looking for reasons to pull the plug on Taveras.
"There have been challenges in a lot of different places," Hurdle said. "We'll see. But I think run him out there, give him four more at-bats and see where it takes us."
Get on base and see: Third baseman Garrett Atkins, who had a double and scored during Game 1 but was on a 1-for-12 slump heading into Game 2, said it's simply a matter of putting runners on base, something the Rockies have done well.
"We need to get baserunners out there, whether it's a walk or some singles," Atkins said. "We have to try not to do too much. Just string together five or six quality at-bats."
Schilling is not the overpowering pitcher he was in past years, but he's extremely tough with men on base, having held opponents to a .200 batting average (6-for-30) in the postseason.
At least losing by 12 runs doesn't have the Rockies carrying any laments into the next game. The opener is forgotten.
"Luckily, the runs don't carry over," Atkins said. "If we win this one and go home with a split, last night's game won't even matter."
Change of shirts, change of luck: Since their last regular-season loss, the Rockies wore their black jerseys for every game but one, when the Diamondbacks donned black and forced them into their road grays in Game 2 of the NLCS.
But Thursday night, the Rockies wore their road grays by choice.
Tulowitzki gets going: Rookie shortstop Troy Tulowitzki was a defensive force but had inconsistent at-bats during the postseason, until he knocked a double among his two hits on Wednesday.
"He's been a guy who's been challenged in the postseason, but he hit a couple of balls real well for us last night," Hurdle said.
Whose face is red? First baseman Todd Helton was asked if he or the club has concerns that many people were watching the Rockies for the first time on Wednesday night, when they lost badly.
"[Former Rockies manager] Buddy Bell told me the first year he was managing us, he said, 'I never want to hear you say you're embarrassed on a baseball field again,'" Helton said. "I thought about that last night. We're playing in the World Series. We're not going to hang our heads no matter what happens in this thing and never going to be embarrassed on the baseball field.
"Do we want to give a better showing for the people that are first-time watching us? Of course. We want to play the way we're capable of playing."
No worries about Morales: It was not the World Series debut of rookie left-hander Franklin Morales' dreams. He gave up seven runs in two-thirds of an inning, becoming the third pitcher in World Series history to give up that many in a World Series contest.
Hurdle didn't think he put Morales in a bad position when he asked him to rescue Jeff Francis from his rough appearance, however.
"I don't know, but it wasn't too much to ask of him when he had two outs and a runner on first," Hurdle said.
Hurdle noted that Morales showed greater mound presence, as in not fidgeting or looking worried, than he did in some successful late regular-season outings.
If Hurdle is concerned about Morales having joined the Yankees' Jay Witasick (nine runs, 2001) and the New York Giants' Hooks Wiltse (eight runs, 1911) as the only pitchers to be hung with at least seven runs in a World Series game, he wasn't letting on.
"Do you think he's poring over the paper right now, figuring that out?" Hurdle said. "He very well might, but something that those guys do very well out there [in the clubhouse] is take care of one another. Their awareness is very, very good.
"We pick our spots to have conversations when we need to and I don't think we always need to share that with anybody else."
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.