Long time Rockies first baseman Todd Helton sliced a double down the left field line against Reds reliever Curtis Partch in the bottom of the seventh for his 2,500th career hit. Helton narrowly beat left fielder Chris Heisey’s throw to second base for the double. There was a brief pause in the game as Helton took off his helmet and acknowledged the standing ovation given to him by the excited crowd at Coors Field.
Helton, now 40 years old and in his 17th Major League season, had been hitless in his previous seven attempts to get #2,500. He went 2-for-5 with two three-run home runs on Friday, but struck out three times in four at-bats tonight and was 0-for-2 with an intentional walk today. Helton is also seven RBI away from 1,400 for his career. Today’s double was the 584th of his career, leaving him one shy of Rafael Palmeiro for 16th on the all-time list.
The Rockies had a 7-2 lead over the Reds at the time of Helton’s double, well on their way to an easy victory in the series finale. They had beaten up Reds starter Mike Leake for six runs in four innings. Meanwhile, Rockies starter Tyler Chatwood could only last two innings before being pulled due to a bruised thumb.
The Padres fired manager Andy Green on Saturday, per an official team release. Bench coach Rod Barajas will step into the position for the remaining eight games of the 2019 season.
Executive Vice President and GM A.J. Preller gave a statement in the wake of Green’s dismissal:
I want to thank Andy for his tireless work and dedication to the Padres over the last four seasons. This was an incredibly difficult decision, but one we felt was necessary at this time to take our organization to the next level and expedite the process of bringing a championship to San Diego. Our search for a new manager will begin immediately.
In additional comments made to reporters, Preller added that the decision had not been made based on the Padres’ current win-loss record (a fourth-place 69-85 in the NL West), but rather on the lack of response coming from the team.
“Looking at the performance, looking at it from an improvement standing, we haven’t seen the team respond in the last few months,” Preller said. “When you get to the point where you’re questioning where things are headed … we have to make that call.”
Since his hiring in October 2015, Green has faced considerable challenges on the Padres’ long and winding path to postseason contention. He shepherded San Diego through four consecutive losing seasons, drawing a career 274-366 record as the club extended their streak to 13 seasons without a playoff appearance. And, despite some definite strides in the right direction — including an eight-year, $144 million pact with Eric Hosmer, a 10-year, $300 million pact with superstar Manny Machado, and the development of top prospect Fernando Tatís Jr. — lingering injuries and inexplicable slumps from key players stalled the rebuild longer than the Padres would have liked.
For now, they’ll prepare to roll the dice with a new skipper in 2020, though any potential candidates have yet to be identified for the role. It won’t come cheap, either, as Green inked a four-year extension back in 2017 — one that should have seen him through the team’s 2021 campaign.