Notes: Spilborghs gets another shot
Outfielder struggled at DH in first two games, but hits lefties well
DENVER -- Ryan Spilborghs figured he'd get another chance in the World Series.
In the first two games, Spilborghs served as the Rockies' designated hitter, but went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts -- all looking. However, Spilborghs often starts against left-handed pitching, so he was back in the lineup for Sunday night's Game 4 at Coors Field against the Red Sox's Jon Lester.
Regular center fielder Willy Taveras sat for the second straight night.
Spilborghs, who hit 11 home runs during the regular season, started in center field and batted sixth, with Brad Hawpe dropping from sixth to seventh. Spilborghs has yet to play a full Major League season and doesn't have the catalog of at-bats to be considered a viable DH.
"When you're out on the field, it's easier," Spilborghs said. "As a DH, you've got to wait and you never know how long an inning is going to be. Obviously, when you play in the outfield, it's more comfortable. You feel like you're more a part of the game."
Spilborghs seemed dismayed at some of the strike calls, especially by umpire Laz Diaz in Game 2, but he said it's behind him.
"I struck out three times looking, so it was a combination of I didn't like the strike zone and I struck out three times looking, so it's a little of both," Spilborghs said. "Laz is a great umpire. That's the reason why he's here, same as the reason both these teams are here. I should've been swinging."
By dropping Hawpe a spot, it puts two right-handed hitters, Garrett Atkins and Spilborghs, between left-handed-hitting cleanup man Todd Helton and Hawpe, another lefty batter.
A prettier number: By throwing 2 1/3 strong innings Saturday night, rookie left-hander Franklin Morales lowered his World Series ERA from 94.59 to 21.00 -- not exactly super numbers, but a little more palatable.
Morales, 21, said he was spooked by his ERA but he did want to show how well he can pitch.
"I felt comfortable throwing my fastball inside and outside," Morales said. "In Boston, my fastball was in the middle of the plate. But last night, all my pitches were much better. I felt comfortable with my breaking pitches.
"But last night, I didn't think about what happened in Boston. It was a much better night."
Manager Clint Hurdle has shown confidence in Morales, using him in the rotation down the stretch and for two playoff starts.
"I think it's huge, no doubt about it," Hurdle said. "He got outs, pitched in the middle of the lineup. In a perfect world I'd rather have brought him in with nobody on base, but he came in with two men out and got an out.
"He pitched very effectively the next inning to the heart of the lineup and then was able to hold ground after a leadoff double. I would think anybody that thought he might've been overwhelmed earlier, I would think that might change the thinking."
Hands on deck: Right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez, who started Game 2 and would start Game 6 if necessary, will be available to pitch in relief for Sunday night's Game 4. It's his normal bullpen day.
"Of course, I want to get involved at an important time to help the team win, so I'll do anything I can," Jimenez said.
Jimenez held the Sox to two runs but walked five and lasted just 4 2/3 innings in Game 2, a 2-1 Rockies loss.
Man on top: The Rockies' lineup has worked well in the playoffs with second baseman Kazuo Matsui at the top rather than Taveras.
Matsui has functioned much better at the top (.471 in 17 at-bats with four extra-base hits and a .526 on-base percentage) than the second position (.200 in 25 at-bats with no extra-base hits and a .231 OBP) he held when Taveras was in.
Perspective: The Rockies were hurt badly in the eighth inning on Saturday, after they had cut a 6-0 lead to 6-5. Left-handed reliever Brian Fuentes gave up three runs on three hits.
"He only got squared up once," Hurdle said. "We were down to one run and we had the guy we wanted to have in, and we weren't able to keep it at one."
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.