SCOTTSDALE — After having his last start interrupted by back spasms, Colorado Rockies southpaw Kyle Freeland looked sharp in his return to the mound on Sunday against the Cleveland Indians.
Kyle Freeland went three innings, allowing two hits and striking out four in a successful stint. Despite missing time with back issues, last year’s Opening Day starter for the Colorado Rockies said he was “on track” for a turn in the rotation when Colorado heads to San Diego to open the 2020 season against the Padres.
Working for the second time with Elias Diaz behind the plate, Freeland said he and the new Rockies catcher had a plan heading into the game. That plan focused on the changeup and the curveball. Freeland got three strikeouts on his changeup and one with the curve.
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"“I think I only threw two sliders. We mixed the curveball and the changeup very well,” Freeland said. “We had a lot of soft contact and a lot of swings and misses which, with my changeup is common with soft contact, not so much swings and misses so that was nice to see.“With the curveball early, they weren’t really swinging at it but I liked the shape of it, where the action was and everything.”"
Freeland’s only true mistake of the day came on a center cut fastball that Bobby Bradley took over the left field wall in the second inning.
"“It was supposed to be a fastball down and away but I just didn’t drive it down there,” Freeland said."
Rockies fans can certainly take comfort in Freeland’s early assessment of his new delivery. Coming off last season’s disappointing 6.73 ERA and ERA+ of 77, Freeland told Rox Pile and other media members that, “overall, the mechanics and everything felt smooth” on Sunday.
And with Freeland’s pitching style, mechanics and a mental game plan that exudes confidence will be key to his success in 2020.
"“I don’t have a blistering fastball or exploding slider. I’m more of a finesse location kind of mess with you up there and outthink you,” Freeland said."