Kyle Freeland pitched admirably and contributed offensively, but baseball is not won by one player. As such, the Rockies dropped the first game of their series in San Diego 4-2 on Friday.
Freeland hot, but blisters late
Freeland continued his recent trend of great starts on Friday. He threw five strong innings and allowed six hits, two walks, and struck out three. He did allow three runs, though not in the way one might expect. The Colorado native allowed no hits through the first three innings and, despite occasional command issues, seemed to be cruising through another good outing.
He did allow a run in the fourth (breaking his streak of 15 1⁄3 scoreless innings, the longest such streak of his career) via a Jake Cronenworth double and Trent Grisham single, but with the Rockies up 2-1 after five innings (that second Rockies run coming off of his own RBI double), “KFree” still looked to be in control.
Not so in the sixth: Cronenworth led off with a single and Manny Machado followed with a double to put runners at second and third with no outs. It was at this point that a pesky blister (seemingly formed in his last start) reared its ugly pus-filled head again, and Freeland had no choice but to depart. Tyler Kinley entered in relief and allowed an RBI groundout of Grisham before striking out Eric Hosmer.
With two outs and the game tied, noted Rockies-killer Wil Myers launched a gapper to left-center, a double that ended up scoring the go-ahead run. That would be enough to secure the San Diego victory on Friday, though the Padres added an insurance run in the seventh against Michal Givens for good measure.
Offense has chances, but can’t get the big one
Oftentimes, the Colorado batters find themselves completely out of sorts on the road, with no chances for multiple scoring opportunities. Such was not the case on Friday. The Rockies began the second frame against rookie pitcher Reiss Knehr with a Trevor Story double and back-to-back walks to Ryan McMahon and C.J. Cron. A third straight walk to Elías Díaz made it 1-0, with the Rockies in prime position to put up a crooked number early. Unfortunately, Chris Ownings struck out, Kyle Freeland flew out to shallow left, and Raimel Tapia lined out to allow the Padres to escape with just the lone run scored.
The aforementioned Freeland double would lead to their only other run, despite having a base runner in seven of nine innings. In total, the Rockies left 15 men on base—not ideal.
J lays down the Law
While the loss was a downer in several aspects, one highlight was Justin Lawrence’s eighth inning. The rookie, who is still trying to figure out his stuff at the Major League level, coaxed a groundout of Trent Grisham before walking Eric Hosmer and allowing a bunt single to Wil Myers. With a chance to allow San Diego to really break the game open, Lawrence instead buckled down and cajoled a double play from Webster Rivas to end the threat.
It’s a small thing, but any opportunity for Lawrence to mature and become more comfortable in his late-inning role is a win for me.
The Rockies will try again tomorrow as All-Star Germán Márquez (7-6, 3.59 ERA) locks up with non-All Star Joe Musgrove (5-6, 2.97 ERA).
First pitch is at 8:10pm MDT.
See you then!