Kyle Freeland is looking to restart his big-league career, having struggled in the early weeks of 2019 after finishing fourth in the NL Cy Young voting in 2018. Ricky Nolaso, who turns 37 in December and ranks 12th among active pitchers in big-league starts, is trying to hang on.
Sunday, they will be on the mound in Reno, Freeland making his fourth start for Albuquerque in preparation for a return to the Rockies rotation, Nolasco, making his third start for Reno after opening season at Double-A in hopes he can generate big-league interest.
Freeland is coming off a six-inning, two run effort in his third start since the Rockies sent him to Albuquerque to regrup after opening the season with a seven-inning, one-run effort at Miami on Opening Day. In his next 11 starts, Freeland was 1-5 and allowed 46 earned runs in 52 1/3 innings, lacking the command he had shown in his first two big-league seasons.
Manager Bud Black leaves no doubt he expects to see the Freeland back in the Rockies rotation before long, and back as one of the more competitive pitchers in the big leagues.
“Going down and exhaling, and taking a step back, will put him in a much better frame of mind when he does come back,” Black told the Denver Post this week. “I’m projecting, but (there will be) confidence in his pitch mix because there are some things he’s worked on. He will be more dimensional with his pitches.”
Nolasco, meanwhile, signed a $100,000 deal with the D-backs during spring training with the hope he can pitch his way back to the big leagues, where he has a 114-118 career record with a 4.56 ERA over 11 seasons. He has pitched in the ig leagues with the Marlins, Dodgers, Twins and Angels. He has not pitched in the big leagues since 2017 when he was 6-15 with a 4.92 ERA with the Angels, who tabbed him as the Opening Day starter that year.
He did sign a minor-league contract with the Angels a year ago, but was released out of spring training.
In Saturday's Games
AAA Albuquerque (31-44) lost 1-0 at Reno (D-backs). Pat Dean (2-7, 7.05) allowed one run on six innings, giving up seven hits and four walks, striking out six. Yonathan Daza (.371) was 2-for-4, and Sam Hilliard (.258) tripled for the Isotopes' ony other hit. Ben Bowden made his Triple-A debut by pithcing a scoreless eighth inning. Bowden was 20-for-20 in save situations at AA Hartford to open the season.
AA Hartford (2-2, 39-32) won 7-3 against Altoona (Pirates). Bret Boswell (.191) had a three-run home run in the fourth. Carlos Herreera (.154) was 2-for-3 with a run scored, double and triple. Mitch Horacek (2-0, 1.98) blew a save but wound up with the victory after allowing two runs on one hit and one walk, striking out one in 1 2/3 innings. Matt Dennis (2.25) started and allowed one run on four hits and a walk, striking out three in four innings.
High A Lancaster (36-35) lost 10-5 to Cucamonga (Dodgers). Garrett Schilling (4-3, 4.11) allowed six runs on five hits and five walks, striking out five in 5 2/3 innings. Sam Bouchard (.2720 was 2-for-4 with a home run and four RBI. Todd Czinege (.264) hit his 10th home run.
Low A Asheville (31-42) won 6-5 against Columbia (Mets), scoirng the game-tying run in the eighth, and walking off in the ninth. Grnat LAvigne (.246) led off the eighth with a single, and Kyle Datres (.268) doubled him home. In the ninth, Terrin Vavra (.328) drew a leadoff walk, and scored when Will Golsan (.243) sacrifice bunt on which Columbia pitcher Jose Moreno threw the ball away for a two-base error. Alex Martinez (3-4, 3.34) pitched a scoreless ninth for the win. Alfredo Garcia (7.36) started and allowed four runs on six hits and three walks, striking out six in 4 2/3 innings.
Short-season A Boise (3-6) lost 5-0 at Spokane (Rangers). Breiling Eusebio (0-1, 1.93) allowed one run on one hit in 1 2/3 innings for the loss. Boise had two singles -- one each by Aaron Schunk (.185) and Dilone Vladimir (.250).
Rookie Grand Junction (4-4) won 5-2 at Rocky Mountain (Brewers). Anderson Pilar (2-0, 5.14) worked two shutout innings, giving up a single, for the win. Gavin Hollowell (0.00) struck out two in one inning for the save.