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Colorado Rockies game no. 70 thread: Kyle Freeland vs. Braxton Garrett

Colorado turns to Kyle Freeland after throwing just 82 pitches in his last start (7 IP)

The good news: Sandy Alcantara doesn’t pitch against the Rockies in this series.

The bad news: a Miami sweep is still on the table.

The Marlins have outscored the Rockies 16-12 in the first two games of this three-game set in Miami. After a three-game weekend sweep of San Diego, the Rockies find themselves in similar territory as last week, looking to salvage a series with a lone Thursday win.

Kyle Freeland will toe the mound for the Rockies, five days removed from a start where he matched a season-high seven innings. He allowed four runs to the Padres in that outing, striking out zero but throwing just 82 pitches. Freeland has not reached the 100-pitch mark in any of his three starts in June, but his six strikeouts in 20 innings this month is a stark contrast to his month of May where the lefty recorded 25 punchouts in 33 23 frames.

Freeland has also thrown more fastballs than sliders in two consecutive starts, which is a 2022 first:

Perhaps this has played into his lack of June strikeouts — and perhaps we’ll see more breaking balls at sea level this afternoon. Miami hitters have combined for a 24.5% strikeout percentage, the sixth-highest in baseball.

Braxton Garrett will toss the home half of the first, making his 13th career MLB start. The seventh-overall selection in the 2017 draft, Garrett works a five-pitch mix of sliders, fastballs, sinkers, curveballs and changeups. This year is the first in which he throws more sliders than heaters, and none of his pitches have been used more than 35% of the time*. This allows Garrett to be unpredictable; when he’s behind in counts, none of his pitches have more than 30% use.

(*Garrett’s fastballs and sinkers have similar profiles, but the deviation between observed and spin-based axis make them quite different from each other.)

He won’t blow anybody away with velocity — his fastball averages 91.5 MPH this year — but a versatile pitch mix in all counts will keep hitters off balance. Here’s the mix he throws when behind in counts — with no pitches over 30% use.

Colorado has a rested bullpen for the final game of this series. Closer Daniel Bard has not thrown since Saturday, while Carlos Estévez last pitched on Sunday. Alex Colomé threw 24 pitches in a Tuesday loss, while Robert Stephenson and Lucas Gilbreath threw 11 pitches or fewer on Wednesday.

Miami pretty much emptied their bullpen tank on Tuesday, but a lot of their top arms were not used on Wednesday.

Also of note: Bud Black is working Elehuris Montero and Sean Bouchard in the eight and nine spot in the batting order. Both are recent call-ups from Triple-A Albuquerque.

First Pitch: 10:10 a.m. MDT

TV: AT&T Sports Net Rocky Mountain (COL), Bally Sports Florida (MIA); MLB.TV

*Available on MLB Network outside of COL/MIA markets

Radio: KOA 850 AM/94.1 FM; KNRV 1150 (Spanish)