Going into the season, most people thought that the strength of the Colorado Rockies would be their starting rotation. However, due to struggles of multiple pitchers and injuries, the Rockies are dead last in starter’s ERA.
The Colorado Rockies starting pitchers are dead last in ERA, as they have an ERA of 5.48, despite many believing that the rotation was the Rockies strength entering the season.
One of the people that the Rockies expected to heavily rely on but struggled mightily is Kyle Freeland. Freeland came in 4th in the NL Cy Young Award voting last year and now, as we head into the final series before the All-Star break, Freeland has spent more than a month of the season in Triple-A Albuquerque due to his struggles.
His last MLB start was on May 30 and in his 12 starts at the major league level, he has pitched to a 2-6 record with an ERA of 7.13 (6.43 FIP). In those 12 starts, his home run rate tripled of what it was last season, his walk rate increased from 3.1 to 3.8 per nine innings and his strikeout rate dropped from 7.8 to 7.4 per nine innings.
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After the Rockies loss on Wednesday to the Houston Astros and the Rockies third straight loss overall, Rockies manager Bud Black spoke to the media about how important it is to the Rockies starting rotation (and the bullpen, as well) to step up their game.
"“[It’s v]ery important. We led the National League in innings pitched as a starting rotation [and] it doesn’t look like we are going to do that this year. We have to pick that part of our team up here starting Friday and then, after the All-Star break if we are going to get to where we want to be [at the end of the season]. Our starting pitching has to improve collectively and our bullpen has to improve collectively. All 13 guys have to pitch better."
With the Rockies sending Chi Chi Gonzalez back to Albuquerque, off days on Monday and Thursday, and the All-Star break, the Rockies won’t need a fifth starter until Monday, the 15th when the Rockies have a double header with the Giants.
For that, though, Rockies fans may see the return of Freeland. While he hasn’t seen the results that he or the Rockies would like (8.80 ERA), he made a start on Wednesday that was much more impressive.
While he was still saddled with the loss as the Isotopes lost 1-0, Freeland went seven innings, allowing four hits, two walks, and one run while striking out nine.
The Rockies obviously need to improve the rotation and the pitching in general as there are ten teams within 4 games of the two NL Wild Card spots, plus the 3 division leaders entering Friday.
If the Rockies do call him up, it will give the Rockies about two weeks to look at the left-hander before the trade deadline. If he does well, he might function like a mid-season acquisition and really, he’d be even better as the Rockies wouldn’t have to give anything up to another team.