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Colorado Rockies Infielder Josh Rutledge Indirectly Helped Giants Win the Title

PHOENIX, AZ - OCTOBER 03:  Infielder Josh Rutledge #14 of the Colorado Rockies throws over A.J. Pollock #11 of the Arizona Diamondbacks to complete a double play during the seventh inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on October 3, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Paul Francis SullivanChief Writer IOctober 31, 2012

A lot of Giants players and coaches have been credited with lifting the team to their unlikely sweep of the Tigers and 2012 World Series title.

But as the likes of Sergio Romo, Pablo Sandoval, Buster Posey, Barry Zito, Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Jeremy Affeldt, Marco Scutaro and Bruce Bochy have all been mentioned, another player deserves a salute as well: Colorado Rockies second baseman Josh Rutledge.

The Rockies did not have a good year. In fact, they were the worst team in the National League and eventually drove Jim Tracy to resign.

One thing they did have was infield depth. Even with the injury to Troy Tulowitzki, the Rockies were solid in their infield. Chris Nelson finally began to blossom and became a .301 hitter at third base. Jordan Pacheco batted .309 in 505 plate appearances splitting time between third and first. D.J. LeMahieu hit .297 in 247 plate appearances.

And most importantly, 24-year-old Josh Rutledge made the leap from Double-A Tulsa, where he dominated. Rutledge was smacking Texas League pitching at a .306 clip and an OPS of .846. He had 13 homers as well as he skipped Triple-A and arrived in Colorado on July 13.

At first he played shortstop, filling for for Tulowitzki. He hit well, fielded well and showed he was more than simply a minor league fill-in.

Eventually the need to start Rutledge and give the other young infielders playing time forced the Rockies to make a move involving an older player.

That change was to deal veteran Marco Scutaro to the San Francisco Giants for Charlie Culberson, another young infielder.

Scuatro, of course, blossomed into a very important figure with the Giants. He hit .362 with an OPS of .859 in his 61 regular season games with San Francisco. He went on to win the NLCS MVP and get the World Series-winning RBI in Game 4.

And if Rutledge and the other young infielders did not play so well for the Rockies, Scuatro probably would have finished the season in Colorado and the Giants would have to have found another source of production and inspiration in October.

Maybe Rutledge should get a World Series share.

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