Colorado Rockies: Plans for the rotation and the fifth starter

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DENVER, COLORADO - MAY 09: Starting pitcher Kyle Freeland #21 of the Colorado Rockies throws in the first inning against the San Francisco Giants at Coors Field on May 09, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
DENVER, COLORADO - MAY 09: Starting pitcher Kyle Freeland #21 of the Colorado Rockies throws in the first inning against the San Francisco Giants at Coors Field on May 09, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /
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On Tuesday, the Colorado Rockies activated Trevor Story from the 10-day Injured List and sent down starter Chi Chi Gonzalez to Triple-A Albuquerque. The move leaves the rotation short a man and once again raises the question of who will become the fifth starter after the All-Star break.

With Gonzalez out of the rotation, the Colorado Rockies are down to only four starters in the rotation. Fortunately, the schedule leaves them some time to make a decision on their fifth man. Having the day off on Monday and another on the Fourth of July, followed by a three-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks before the All-Star break, the Rockies will play five games in an 11-day span.

The lack of games will allow Bud Black almost two full weeks to make a decision when the San Francisco Giants come to town on July 15. So the question is worth repeating: Who will be the fifth starter?

The first name that crosses everyone’s mind is, of course, Kyle Freeland. I hate to burst the bubble but that’s not going to happen. Since being sent down to Albuquerque on May 31, Freeland has been woeful in his five starts, going 0-3 with an 11.12 ERA, including getting shelled for 10 runs on 12 hits in 3.1 innings in his last start.

Before Tuesday’s game, Black stated that Freeland is getting close to returning to his former self despite the recent results. So the fourth-place finisher in last season’s NL Cy Young award is close … but he won’t be in Denver just yet.

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The Rockies could turn to Jeff Hoffman and give him another chance at proving himself to be worthy of the Majors after multiple failed attempts. After going 1-3 in seven big league starts with a 6.75 ERA, he has been vintage Hoffman since being replaced by Gonzalez. In his two minor league starts, he has gone five and six innings, giving up four and five runs, respectively.

Or the Rockies could return to Chi Chi Gonzalez. In his first two Major League starts since 2016, he was respectable but struggled with high pitch counts and walks which limited his innings. Gonzalez would be my odds on favorite to return to the rotation for a split doubleheader when the Rockies host the Giants on July 15. That’s also what Black hinted on Tuesday.

As a note, the rotation for the rest of the games before the All-Star break will be Peter Lambert (Wednesday vs. Houston), Antonio Senzatela (Friday at Arizona), Jon Gray (Saturday at Arizona) and German Marquez (Sunday at Arizona).

Of course, the Rockies could shock us all and finally make a trade for a starter over the All-Star break. The break may be a little vacation for most of the players but GM Jeff Bridich should be hard at work trying to figure out how to make this team better and adding a reliable starter would be a good place to begin.

Next. Numbers show just brutal Coors Field has been this season. dark

It will be interesting to see what the Rockies will do. Luckily, this time, they have a couple of weeks to make the important decision.

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