Arenado enduring dog days of summer at plate

Rockies' slugger struggling during road trip in sweltering heat

Arenado enduring dog days of summer at plate

PHILADELPHIA -- Games in Texas and Philadelphia have been played in triple-digit heat and stifling humidity, the Rockies have been losing and third baseman Nolan Arenado has been struggling. What a tiring combination.

"It's been a tough road trip, but it's something we've got to deal with," Arenado said. "To be honest, we'd rather play in the heat than the cold. It's not an easy thing to do, but it comes with the territory where you're going.

"But it's the games in general. It could be cold, it could be hot. The games we've been playing have been draining."

In the grand scheme of baseball, Arenado's slump -- 1-for-14 with two sacrifice flies -- in the first four games of a road trip that ended Sunday, aren't much. But the intense Arenado, who shattered his bat slamming it in disgust after making the final out of Friday night's 10-6 loss to the Phillies, has to fight the feeling that his offense is circling the drain.

"I feel like I haven't been playing the way I'd like to at all for about two months now, and that [Friday] game was frustrating," Arenado said. "Yesterday was frustrating, also, but it's a long season, and there are lots of ups and downs. I feel like there have been a lot more downs lately than there have been ups."

During the Rockies' last homestand, Arenado hit .414 with four home runs and 12 RBIs, with hits in six of the eight games. It seemed his slump was over, but he knew it wasn't.

"I've had moments but they're not extended moments like I feel I can have," he said. "You sometimes go through hot streaks where they last a long time, and mine haven't really been lasting long. I've got to get back to getting those good habits going."

Arenado's impressive play

Rockies manager Walt Weiss gave Arenado two days out of the starting lineup in a 10-day period in July when he sensed Arenado, who has also thrived defensively this season, was hurting himself with his intensity. It's harder to do these days with shortstop Trevor Story (left thumb surgery) out for the regular season and right-fielder Carlos Gonzalez's tender left ankle making his availability intermittent.

Arenado has been spending time with trainers and in the video room, searching for a solution to his struggles. Weiss has to make sure the work is smart and positive, since he needs Arenado in the right spirit on the field.

"Nolan fights himself, expects a lot of himself, and sometimes that's emotionally draining," Weiss said. "We've had our talks, like we do from time to time, to make sure he maintains the proper perspective."

"Sometimes I feel uncomfortable saying things because I'm not doing my part," Arenado said. "If I'm going to say something, I'd better be able to back it up, and I haven't been able to do that lately. I've got to keep grinding through it, be there for my teammates, keep playing hard on both sides of the ball and good things can happen."

Worth noting

• Gonzalez went 2-for-5 with a double Saturday night in his first start since Monday. Weiss said to keep him healthy, he decided not to start him in Sunday's finale.

• Right-hander Chad Qualls threw one inning Saturday night for Triple-A Albuquerque at Colorado Springs in his first injury rehab game. as he returns from colitis. Qualls allowed two hits and a run with one strikeout.

• Left-hander Jake McGee, who has struggled during the second half, has pitched out around traffic on the basepaths without giving up runs his last two outings.

"'Mac has had to deal with some adversity, missed some time [with a left knee injury] and has had to work his way back, and he's in a good place right now," Weiss said. "I see the velocity. I see the live fastball."

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.