DENVER — Ryan McMahon stopped guessing.
“Right now, I’m just staying in my lane,” said the rookie infielder. “Doing my thing.”
“Right now” is since he was last called up from Triple-A Albuquerque in late July.
And “doing my thing” is hitting .344 (11-for-32) with a double and a pair of homers in 14 games since then. Both homers were big for the Rockies, with McMahon’s two-run shot proving to be the game-winner on Friday night against the Dodgers, and his walk-off three-run liner just over the right-field wall at Coors Field on Saturday night moving the club to 1 1/2 games back of first place in the National League West.
The walk-off homer was the first of McMahon’s life, he said. And the pitch he hit was a 95.2 mph fastball from Dodgers reliever JT Chargois, one that McMahon dropped the barrel on and sent out with a Statcast-tracked exit velocity of 95.4 mph. The swing was smooth, fluid and had the hallmarks of many an effortless path through the hitting zone of sweet-swinging left-handers before him.
But this swing? This swing, ironically, was reminiscent of a former Dodger.
“I’ve had this swing ever since I was a little kid,” McMahon said. “My dad taught me my swing. But I loved Shawn Green when I was growing up.”
Shawn Green, a Dodger from 2000-04, when McMahon was between 6 and 10 years old, the sweet spot for a baseball-loving kid growing up in Southern California. Green hit 162 homers in those five seasons with Los Angeles, including four in one game against the Brewers at Miller Park on May 23, 2002. He hit nine homers in a five-game span from May 21-25. And all with a pretty swing from the left-handed batter’s box that has been reincarnated in McMahon’s, whether by intention or not.
Take a look at Green’s four-homer game, particularly the final swing on a pitch down and in. Then take a look at McMahon’s walk-off shot from Saturday night.
On Saturday, McMahon sent a ballpark into a delirium with that stroke, and afterward, some Rockies pitchers told them why they saw something like that in the cards.
“Some of the pitchers were telling me they had confidence in me because of [my bat path through the hitting zone]” against Chargois, a sinker/slider pitcher, McMahon said.
Rockies star third baseman and NL Most Valuable Player candidate Nolan Arenado was not in the starting lineup Saturday (though he pinch-hit in the ninth inning), and McMahon was the man at third base in his absence, as he was the night prior after Arenado left mid-game due to shoulder soreness. Taking advantage of unforeseen opportunities is not only what it takes to ascend for most young players in the Majors, but for teams like the Rockies to compete with teams like the Dodgers.
McMahon’s swing could be key down the stretch, and it may be locking in at an opportune time for Colorado.