Kyle Freeland was one of Colorado’s budding stars when he finished fourth in the Cy Young voting in 2018. Four years later, he is one of the grizzled vets for the Rockies, and he has taken that role seriously.
That shone through Tuesday night when he battled through a cold — nearly becoming sick on the mound — in Pittsburgh to throw 84 pitches. It was an example some of the younger pitchers can look at when they struggle.
“That’s where the tables have kind of turned where I’m the veteran now,” Freeland said after his start against the Pirates, one of two games his team has won through the first six games on this seven-game road trip.
A much healthier Freeland will finish off Colorado’s trip when he starts Sunday at the Washington Nationals. Freeland (1-4, 4.60 ERA) will be going against Washington righty Josiah Gray (4-4, 5.44) as the Rockies try to earn a split of the four-game series.
The teams played a split doubleheader Saturday, with the Nationals taking the first game 13-7 and Colorado winning the nightcap, 3-2.
If Freeland’s history against Washington is any barometer, the Rockies have a chance to get the split. In six career starts against them, he is 4-1 with a 1.83 ERA, including 2-1 with a 1.66 ERA in four starts at Nationals Park.
There is a chance Freeland’s battery mate will be rookie Brian Serven, who has been impressive since making his major league debut May 18. He has shown some pop — he homered for his first two major league hits — and is a capable catcher who isn’t afraid to ask questions.
“I think he’s going to be good because he’s so eager to get better and learn about us,” Freeland said of Serven. “It’s going take time.”
Gray has started 22 games — nine this season — since making his major league debut with his only relief appearance on July 20, 2021. In three career starts against the Rockies, Gray is 1-0 with a 6.14 ERA.
Washington has struggled this year, but Victor Robles has been a bright spot, especially in the first game Saturday. He hit his first homer of the year and drove in six runs, and added a single in the second game. He finished the day with four hits.
Robles struggled last season and went hitless in his first 18 bats of 2022, but he raised his average from .228 to .248 with Saturday’s performance.
“I believe in myself and in the work I’ve put in,” Robles said through an interpreter. “I know the results will be there eventually, and I’ve just got to keep grinding.”
His team has not lost confidence in him.
“I truly believe in him, and so does this organization,” manager Dave Martinez said. “He’s got unbelievable skills, and we just got to try and get it out of him, and we’re going to stick with him. There are going to be days where I’ll give him a little breather, but we want him to be our everyday centerfielder.”
–Field Level Media