Rockies host road-weary Diamondbacks
Much has been made of the Colorado Rockies’ struggles on the road this season. Traditionally, the Rockies have a poor record away from Coors Field, and this year the team’s 14-45 mark is one of the worst in franchise history.
Another team that has struggled away from home is Arizona, and the Diamondbacks happen to be in Denver for a three-game series. On Saturday night, the teams will meet again after the Rockies posted a 9-4 victory in the opener.
Arizona, which is 14-46 on the road this season, will start right-hander Zac Gallen (1-7, 5.03 ERA) against Colorado left-hander Kyle Freeland (4-6, 4.40).
Both teams were brimming with confidence entering this series. The Rockies completed a sweep of San Diego before having a day off Thursday, while the Diamondbacks won five of six at home, including twice against the Padres and followed by a sweep of Philadelphia.
This is the last series of the season between the teams in Denver; they won’t meet again until a season-ending, three-game slate in Phoenix during the first weekend of October. Four years ago, both franchises were in the playoffs and faced off in the National League wild-card game, won by the Diamondbacks, but now they’re playing for respectability and 2022.
For Arizona, that push started after the All-Star break following a forgettable first half of the season. The Diamondbacks suffered losing streaks of 15 and 17 games and at one point lost 24 straight on the road.
They are 15-16 since the All-Star break.
“I can’t say enough good things about what this team has done,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said Thursday. “We were being mentioned in some historic lows, and that had me sleepless.”
Gallen will face the Rockies for the second time this season. He lost the first outing against them, 14-6, on May 1 in Arizona and has gone 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA in five career starts versus Colorado.
Freeland has overcome a rough start to the year that began with a stint on the injured list with left-shoulder tightness. He didn’t make his first start until May 25, and he was roughed up early in his return, going 0-2 with a 9.58 ERA in his first five outings.
Freeland has turned things around and shaved 5.18 off of his ERA since June 16. Over his past 10 starts, Freeland has an ERA of 2.53 with 51 strikeouts and 11 walks, but it hasn’t translated into wins for him until recently.
Freeland will go for his fourth straight win Saturday night.
“He’s pitching great, but it’s a different repertoire,” manager Bud Black said after Freeland beat San Francisco on the road in his most recent start, on Saturday. “That speaks volumes to his development and his adjustment as a major-league pitcher as he’s gone through these last couple of years.”
Freeland will make his first start of the season against Arizona and the 15th of his career against the NL West rival. In his 14 outings against the Diamondbacks, he is 3-5 with a 5.85 ERA.
–Field Level Media