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Kyle Freeland’s exceptional year continues for the Rockies

Rockies news and links for August 30, 2018

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The mystery of Coors Field and Kyle Freeland’s dominance | Yahoo Sports
Kyle Freeland currently ranks top-10 among National League starting pitchers in fWAR, innings pitched, and ground-ball percentage, and top-5 in rWAR, ERA, and Win Probability Added. Freeland also has the second lowest line-drive percentage in the NL, after Max Scherzer, and according to FanGraphs’ pitch values, the only cutter more valuable than Freeland’s belongs to Jake Arrieta. Manager Bud Black will be quick to tell you that Freeland has not received the national recognition that he deserves for his phenomenal 2018 performance. One national writer looking to change that is Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports.

Brown dissects the unfair treatment of hitters like Todd Helton and Larry Walker, both of whom should be Hall-of-Famers in my estimation. For the flack that these hitters and, taking a present-day example, Nolan Arenado get, shouldn’t the scale swing back the same way to treat Rockies’ pitchers exceedingly more favorably than their peers? While Freeland may have yet to approach the 2018 efforts of Scherzer, Jacob deGrom, Aaron Nola, or others, he should be recognized as having an extraordinary year by the standard of Rox pitchers from the past. What’s even more amazing is that Freeland has even more success when pitching at the confines of Coors Field than he does on the road. This isn’t anything new — Freeland’s ERA was nearly a full run lower at home than on the road in 2017 as well. But as it currently stands, a 2.90 overall ERA will be something we’ve only see two times before from a Rockies’ starter— from Marvin Freeman in 1994 and Ubaldo Jimenez in 2010.

Freeland working his way into Cy conversation |
Someone else who also believes Freeland is entering the Cy Young conversation is’s Doug Padilla. Rockies catcher Chris Iannetta spoke to him much of the same intricacies of hitters getting docked for playing at Coors Field, while pitchers don’t get their recognition for limiting what hitters can do. Iannetta says that Freeland would be a top-three Cy Young candidate if he had a vote.

Referring to his outing on Tuesday against the Los Angeles Angels, Freeland remarkably seemed to say he had trouble throwing his slider at “sea level.” With the excess moisture in the air, Freeland said he had trouble keeping the slider tight. Well, well, well, how the turntables. Much different from the typical narrative of breaking pitches being less effective a mile high.

Colorado Rockies must stockpile wins while they still can | Rox Pile
From September 7th through the 23rd, the Rockies’ fate will likely be determined. This is a stretch where 13 of 16 games will be played against the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers, the two teams hanging right there with the Rockies in the National League West and in the Wild Card picture. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, writes Rox Pile’s Aaron Hurt. The seven games leading up to these battles with top teams will be against the San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants. The Rockies need to take advantage of these two struggling teams and give themselves some breathing room in the playoff picture.

How do you tell a joke in baseball? The Rockies are learning with Seunghwan Oh and Eugene Koo | The Athletic ($)
When the Rockies acquired Seunghwan Oh from the Toronto Blue Jays at the trade deadline, they strengthened the bullpen. They also added a guy who is “sneaky funny.” The only problem can be understanding the jokes when they are spoken in Korean. That’s where Oh’s translator, Eugene Koo, comes into play. Nick Groke of The Athletic shares the story of Oh and Koo, the “fun duo” who have together found a home with the Rockies.

Rockies’ 2019 spring training schedule includes game vs. Twins in Florida | The Denver Post
Major League Baseball released Spring Training schedules for the Cactus and Grapefruit Leagues on Wednesday, as Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post relays. We already knew about the Rockies’ split-squad two-game set with the D-Backs in Monterrey, Mexico, from March 9-10 of 2019. We now also know that the Rockies of the Cactus League will travel to Florida for some “interleague play.” The Rockies will match up against the Minnesota Twins of the Grapefruit League on March 26.

Spring Training begins on February 23, with the Rockies playing the Diamondbacks at their shared facility of Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.

Around Baseball

Each team’s best stretch-drive run |
All of’s beat writers detail the best stretch run for all 30 teams in their historical paths to the postseason. Unsurprisingly, the magical 2007 run takes the cake for the Rockies.

The Forgotten Collapse of the 1999 Phillies | The Good Phight
From epic stretch runs to miserable collapses, dajafi of The Good Phight details the demise of the 1999 Philadelphia Phillies — a run which those in the city of brotherly love hope will not repeat itself in 2018.

A lesbian’s guide to rooting for the Cubs with Daniel Murphy | The Athletic ($)
Much has been written about the Rockies and several other teams allowing Daniel Murphy to go unclaimed on waivers until he finally reached the Chicago Cubs. (An unbought Eddie Butler jersey also makes an appearance here.) In a special to The Athletic, Kelly Murphy, a Cubs fan, writes about fandom in light of the fact that “you can’t expect the things you love to love you back.”