The secret to Raimel Tapia’s 17-game Rockies hitting streak? A pizza superstition: “I like bacon, extra cheese and pepperoni.” – The Denver Post
MLB 

Rockies outfielder Raimel Tapia has kept a strict routine during his 17-game hitting streak.

“The same meals every day,” Tapia said via interpreter Aaron Munoz, the team’s bullpen catcher. “Even when I go home, I eat the same pizza. Even on the road trip. I try to stay the same throughout this whole thing. … Mostly rice, chicken and beans. When I eat my pizza, I like bacon, extra cheese and pepperoni.”

Tapia’s “cheat” meals from Dominos are postgame celebrations during his breakout season. The 27-year-old outfielder’s hits streak, dating back to June 2, is the longest in the big leagues at present. He is hitting .442 with 10 RBI over that stretch, which has bumped his season’s average to .306.

He’s also showcased elite speed with three stolen bases in the past seven games.

“Who doesn’t like watching him play? That’s sort of the expectation that he’s brought to the group,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “He’s set a standard for himself and how the guys look at him as a teammate. That’s a huge positive.”

Tapia’s surge has coincided with extra-base hits at a rate not seen in the past decade. He is the first major league player to record 14 doubles over a 16-game span since 2009, when the Reds’ Joey Votto did so.

“I feel great. I have a lot of confidence right now,” Tapia said. “That’s the most important part….I don’t really notice the outfielders. I just hustle out of the box. If I see a good read, my legs are strong enough right now where I feel healthy enough to get that extra base.”

Where Tapia’s reliability has sometimes lacked, though, is on defense.

He picked up his third error of the year in Sunday’s home loss to the Brewers. Black remains confident his left fielder is taking steps toward improving at that part of the game.

“He does consistent work each and every day we’re on the field,” Black said.

No one questions Tapia’s consistency at the plate — whether at Coors Field or the dinner table. Repetition is key. His postgame pizza orders will continue so long as the hits keep coming.

“The consistency prior to the game helps him. It keeps him in a good spot mentally,” Black said. “Once the game starts, there is a competitor in there, right? The pitcher-hitter battle, he relishes that. He plays at a high level of intensity and energy, which is great.”

June Tapia tear

A by-the-numbers look at the statistics that have defined Raimel Tapia’s explosive Rockies performance in the month of June.

17 — Consecutive games with a hit

34 — Total hits

14 — Doubles

.415 — Batting average

10 — RBI

On Deck

Rockies LHP Kyle Freeland (0-2, 9.58 ERA) at Mariners RHP Chris Flexen (6-3, 4.12)
8:10 p.m. Tuesday, T-Mobile Park
TV: AT&T SportsNet
Radio: KOA 850 AM/94.1 FM

Freeland’s reintroduction to the rotation has been rocky, to say the least, since he returned from a shoulder injury suffered during spring training. The left-hander has gone five innings just once in his five starts. His last outing — a 3 2/3-inning start against the Padres on June 16 — saw him give up a pair of homers to go along with nine hits, two walks and three strikeouts. Freeland has two career starts against Seattle, going 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA, seven strikeouts and a 1.545 WHIP.  Flexen has been a steady arm for M’s in his first year as a consistent starter in MLB. He is coming off his best start of the season — an eight-inning masterpiece against Minnesota that featured eight strikeouts, four hits and no walks or earned runs.

Trending: Raimel Tapia is flirting with NL player of the month honors. The Rockies outfielder is slashing .442/.463/.623 with 14 doubles during his current 17-game hit streak. And, as his OBP suggests, he’s not getting cheated, either, with just three walks over 80 plate appearances.

At issue: Things have gotten progressively worse for Freeland since returning from injury, with the lefty sporting a 12.79 ERA with 27 hits and four walks over 12 2/3 innings in his last three starts. That includes nine home runs allowed compared to just six strikeouts.

Pitching probables

  • Wednesday: Rockies RHP Germán Márquez (5-6, 4.26) vs Mariners LHP Justus Sheffield (5-6, 5.65), 8:10 p.m., ATTRM
  • Thursday: Off

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