Eye on the Rockies: Freeland Makes Final Pitch of 2019, Has 2020 Vision
The Rockies finished up the season at Oracle Park. And what became obvious is that whether it's AT&T Park (the original name) or Oracle Park (as it became known this year), it is a headache for Colorado. The Rockies lost two of three during the most recent visit. They have won only two of the last 12 series in the ballpark on the bay.
On the Mound
The good news out of the game is Kyle Freeland pitched three solid innings in his second mound appearance since coming off the Injured List. In starts at Dodger Stadium last Saturday, and Oracle Park on Thursday, he allowed one run in five innings and issued one walk.
“The most important thing is Kyle’s coming out of this last week healthy, competing, feeling good about where he is, physically and mentally,” manager Bud Black said. “The thing that stood out to me is that Kyle wanted to come back. It would’ve been easy just to let the season play out and not finish, but Kyle’s a player. Players play. Pitchers pitch.”
It provides Freeland with reason to believe he has dealt with the struggles of 2019, and can now get focused on a normal workout routine for the winter.
“The offseason is for strengthening your body and conditioning, not so much throwing,” Freeland said. “But once I get throwing again, there are definitely going to be keys and goals that I’m going to want to hit going into Spring Training and throughout Spring Training. I’ll write down what I feel and what I know are right so I can go back to it: ‘This is what I was feeling when I was going well.’”
After finishing fourth in NL Cy Young voting last year, and setting franchise records for a starting pitcher for ERA at Coors Field, he was 3-11 with a 6.73 ERA in 22 starts this year. In the midst of the season he was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque for six weeks, and then went on the Injured List with a groin injury Aug. 20 that kept him out until last Saturday at Dodger Stadium.
At the Plate
Truth is, Coors Field or Oracle Park, it didn't seem to make a difference. The Rockies struck out 209 times in 19 games against the Giants this year, the largest strikeout total in a season series against one team in franchise history. In fact, the Rockies struck out 20 more times against the giants this year than they did against the Diamondbacks in 2017, which ranks No. 2 on the team's strikeout list.
The Rockies need to sweep the Brewers, who are in a battle for the NL Central title and at worst assured of a Wild Card spot in the playoffs, while the Padres get swept by the Diamondbacks on the final week of the season for the Rockies to avoid the seventh last-place finish in franchise history. Every manager prior to Bud Black to fill out the Rockies lineup card -- except for original manager Don Baylor -- has managed the team in a last-place season.