Rockies right fielder Michael Cuddyer has figured out how to quietly bludgeon opposing pitching.
In Monday night's 8-1 victory over the White Sox, Cuddyer doubled, walked twice and scored twice. The night, however, belonged to pitcher Jordan Lyles, who had three hits and pitched 6 2/3 strong innings. Behind Lyles, the images that last will be Carlos Gonzalez's line-drive home run, and a home run and a patented across-the-body throw from shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. Before Monday, Charlie Blackmon blasted his way to National League Player of the Week honors.
At some point, though, folks will notice Cuddyer's .424 batting average and seven RBIs. The White Sox will have to deal with Cuddyer on Tuesday night in the second of three games in an Interleague series at Coors Field.
Already, it's shades of last year, when Gonzalez led the National League in homers and he and Tulowitkzi were vying for the batting title. But by the summer months, Cuddyer was impossible to ignore. He put together a 27-game hitting streak and a 46-game on-base streak, both club records. By the end, Cuddyer was the NL batting champ.
For now, though, Cuddyer is happy as the No. 2 hitter in an offense with a .315 batting average.
One way Cuddyer stays under the radar is by not making too much of his or his team's offense.
"It's about three good games -- that's all you can read into it," he said before Monday's game, during which the Rockies pounded out 13 hits. "I know you want to be able to say that's the key to the future, but that's now how you live in baseball. You've got to live in the present.
"I feel good at the plate, and I'll continue to go out there and try to put good at-bats. I'm seeing a lot of hits from Charlie, which is a good thing. He's had a great homestand and hopefully he can continue it."
Cuddyer is a key cog of a lineup that will take its shots against White Sox starting left-hander Jose Quintana (0-0), who held the Twins to two earned runs, but three unearned runs scored, over six innings and received a no-decision in his team's 10-9 loss.
Quintana signed a five-year, $26.5 million contract on March 24. At 25, he is a huge figure in Chicago's future.
"Very mature kid, strong -- just always seems to do his job," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "He gets [us] late in the game. That bulk of the work you would like him to do, it seems like he could do. He pitched 200 innings last year. So not any longer is he a young guy that we're just hoping [he'll perform]. We're letting him just pitch."
Rockies: Morales believes his stuff works anywhere, including Coors
Left-hander Franklin Morales will make his first appearance for the Rockies since he was traded to the Red Sox in 2011, and his first start for them since 2009.
Morales went from bullpen arm to starter (he won the job in Spring Training) by adding a cut fastball, and developing his split-finger fastball, slider and sinker over the years. He doesn't worry how it'll all play out at Coors.
"Before, I tried to do too much," Morales said. "Now, I have more experience. I have more pitches. I have my cutter and my split-finger that I can use in any count, any time.
"Everything is mental. You need to throw your pitch with purpose. If you want to throw your pitch in the dirt, make sure it's there."
White Sox: Ramirez is streaking
White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez is not considered a fast starter. His career April batting average is .242. But this seems to be the year he's bent on changing that.
Ramirez drove in the club's only run on Monday night with a double that extended his career-best season-opening hit streak to seven games. He's hitting .440 (11-for-25) with three doubles, five RBIs, four runs, three walks and two stolen bases.
• The White Sox are 3-13 in road Interleague games since June 13, 2012.
• Gonzalez's home run off Felipe Paulino in the first inning was the first yielded by a White Sox starting pitcher this season.
• Tulowitzki had his first three-hit game of the season and his first home run on Monday. Since going hitless on Opening Day, Tulowitzki has hit safely in six straight games.
Manager Walt Weiss is being careful with Tulowitzki early. He replaced him with Charlie Culberson before the top of the eighth on Monday. On a cold night, Weiss removed him as a precaution against tightness in his legs. With Tulowitzki's history of leg muscle injuries, expect him to be removed from games that are out of hand or if weather is a factor.
Weiss pulled Tulowitkzi late in Friday's lopsided victory over the D-backs, and sat him out of Saturday's victory over the D-backs.
• Rockies first baseman Justin Morneau has hit in all six games he has played this season - a career-long streak to start the year.