“Calm intensity.”

That’s how manager Bud Black describes Connor Joe, the Rockies’ leadoff hitter, outfielder and occasional first baseman.

“He’s focused, yet there’s an intensity there — a calm intensity, which is a great combination,” Black said before the Rockies hosted the Dodgers on Wednesday night at Coors Field.

Those characteristics help explain why Joe has become a sparkplug for his team, as well as one of the most consistent on-base men in the game. Joe entered Wednesday night’s game with a .277 average, as well as a .374 on-base percentage that ranked 10th in the National League. He’d reached base 117 times, ranking ninth in the majors, and his 39 walks ranked seventh.

“Getting on base, grinding out at-bats, having a high walk rate, those are things that have always been part of my game, at every level,” Joe said.

The difference this season is that Joe knows that he’s going to be in the lineup almost every day, and that has made him change his routine.

“I’ve learned to just enjoy showing up to the ballpark and trusting my routine and my preparation,” he said. “That’s allowing me to perform my best in the game.

“And I’ve learned that it’s not just about the stuff I do before the game, but after the game. Getting my lifting in to set me up for the next game is crucial. Last year, I had a little bit more sporadic playing time, so I could afford not to be as hyper-focused.”

RyMac’s slump. Third baseman Ryan McMahon hit eighth in the order Wednesday night, emblematic of his continuing struggles at the plate.  He entered the game hitting .238 with a .708 OPS and just six home runs. His home run percentage of 2.0% is down considerably from 3.9% last season when he hit 23 home runs.

” ‘Mac’ had a really good year last year and he was talking about making the All-Star team,” Black said. “This year, I think he’s pressing for different reasons. He signed the contract and I think there are some expectations he put on himself. Unfairly.

“We gave him the contract because he’s a good player and we think he will be for a long time. So, for me personally, I think he’s trying a bit too hard.”



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