Rockies close disappointing home slate vs. Nationals

MLB

The Colorado Rockies started fast at home in 2021, but a rough September put a damper on what was once a sterling record at Coors Field.

The Rockies have gone 4-11 in Denver this month, missing the chance to win 50 games at home this season. Colorado does have a chance to wrap up the home schedule on a good note when it hosts the Washington Nationals in the finale of a three-game series on Wednesday.

The teams split the first two games of the series, with the Rockies winning 3-1 Tuesday night behind 6 2/3 effective innings from Kyle Freeland.

Colorado (72-85) will give right-hander Peter Lambert (0-0, 4.91 ERA) his second start of the season Wednesday. The Nationals (65-93) will counter with righty Paolo Espino (5-5, 4.01).

The Rockies are 47-33 at home, a good record but not good enough considering the club’s struggles on the road. Colorado is 25-52 away from Denver with three road games left at Arizona over the weekend.

Before heading out of town, Lambert gets another start in his return from a two-year absence. Lambert had Tommy John surgery in July 2020 before baseball began its shortened pandemic season. He made his major league debut a year earlier.

He went 3 2/3 innings in a no-decision against the San Francisco Giants on Friday night. Lambert, who yielded two runs on four hits, was happy to get out on a major league mound again.

“I felt good,” Lambert said. “I wasn’t exactly as sharp as I would’ve liked to have been. A few badly located fastballs in fastball counts, and they took advantage.”

Wednesday will be his second career start against Washington. The other came July 23, 2019, at Nationals Park, when he allowed three runs in 5 1/3 innings and took the loss.

Espino is making his final start of 2021, wrapping up his first full season in the majors. He has made 34 appearances — 18 of them starts — in this campaign, and one of the starts came Sept. 19 against Colorado. He held the Rockies to three hits and no runs over 5 2/3 innings as the Nationals salvaged the finale of the three-game home series.

That stands as his only time facing the Rockies, and he will get his first crack at Coors Field on Wednesday afternoon.

The getaway game might also be the last road contest for Washington veteran Ryan Zimmerman. The infielder, who was drafted as a National in 2005, turned 37 on Tuesday and may retire after the season. He has been part of the franchise since he was taken fourth overall in the draft, the first player chosen by the club after it relocated from Montreal.

He has 284 career home runs since making his major league debut on Sept. 1, 2005, and he helped the Nationals win the World Series two years ago.

“I still think he has a lot left in the tank,” manager Dave Martinez said before Tuesday’s game. “I did everything I can to keep him healthy this year, we talked about that. It was awesome he was able to stay off the (injured list) all year long and participate. It was a good all-around year for him.”

–Field Level Media

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