The Rockies were a win away from their first road series victory this season, but unfortunately they were unable to overcome Trevor Rogers and the Marlins. Now they’ll travel 1122 miles to Miami to match up against the swinging Reds.
Kyle Freeland (0-1, 6.23 ERA) is looking to find consistency as he continues his comeback from his shoulder strain. In his 13 innings of work thus far this season, “KFree” has walked eight batters - that’s a 5.5 BB/9 mark, easily the highest of his career. Fair enough that this is a small sample size, but the last thing he’ll want to do is give the league’s best offense free base runners. The Denver area native will have to avoid the fly ball to be successful; compared to last season, his velocity is down and his exit velocity, launch angle, and barrel and hard hit percentages are up. All that is a fancy way of saying Freeland is getting hit a little harder this year, and that’s not what you want against the boppin’ Reds.
His opponent is Tyler Mahle (5-2, 3.32 ERA), who’s on a hot streak recently. In his last three starts, the righty has gone 3-0 with a sparkling 1.04 ERA. His ability to throw strikes has been key; in his last start, Mahle threw a first-pitch strike to 20 of the 27 batters he faced in a 5-2 win over the Cardinals. A Rockies team that has struggled to figure out its offense away from the 303 will try to wait for their pitch and avoid unnecessary outs. Mahle stifled Colorado’s offense in a May 15th start at Coors, going seven innings and allowing just two earned runs with four strikeouts and no walks in a contest that would see the Reds win in extra innings.
The story of this game (and probably the series) will be holding down the Reds’ offense. In a heavy-hitting four-game series from May 13th - May 16th in Denver, the teams split the series at two wins apiece and scored 27 (Reds) and 33 (Rockies) runs. A month later, Cincinnati’s offense is every bit as hot as it was then, as they lead the National League in AVG and OPS, and are second in OBP (Dodgers) and SLG (Braves).
Matchups time! For the Reds, Tucker Barnhart is 2-for-5, and Jessie Winker is 1-3 versus Freeland. Against Mahle, Yonathan Daza (#DazAllstar) is 2-for-3, Ryan McMahon is hitting .400 in 10 at-bats, and Garrett Hampson is 3-for-6.
Start Time: 5:10 p.m. MDT
TV: AT&T Sportsnet
Radio: KOA 850 AM/94.1 FM; KNRV 1150 (Spanish)