PITTSBURGH — The Colorado Rockies have scuffled a bit with their pitching staff this season and, particularly, in the 14 games prior to Wednesday night, when the team went 3-11. The pitching staff had an ERA of 5.58 in that span but on Tuesday, they got a gutsy performance from Kyle Freeland and a great day for the bullpen against the Pittsburgh Pirates in a 2-1 win in 10 innings.
Kyle Freeland battled a cold and the bullpen also helped out the Colorado Rockies
Freeland, who has been sick the last few days with a cold, did not allow a hit in the first 4 1/3 innings. Things started to unravel for him after that as he allowed a double, an RBI single, and a walk before Jhoulys Chacín came on in relief.
“The whole team knew that Kyle he didn’t feel great going in (to the game),” said manager Bud Black after the game.” “Kyle was great. I know, being in those shoes (before), a lot of times, it heightens (your) focus, it heightens (your) concentration when you aren’t pitching great. You don’t try to do too much but, ultimately, he ran out of gas … His ‘suck it up, I’m pitching” mentality was great.”
Freeland said that he gave “everything” that he had “under the circumstances” but the team prevailed for him. In the third inning, he doubled over but continued on pitching. He explained what happened.
“I was kind of dry heaving,” Freeland said. “I’ve been fighting this cold for a couple of days and it was one of those things where something got caught up in my lungs and I was trying to get it up and it wasn’t coming up … (Ryan McMahon) did a good job of sheltering me a little bit but I was (trying) to cough up some phlegm.”
For the bullpen, they went 5.2 innings of shutout ball, allowing scattering three hits and one walk. Closer Daniel Bard went two innings and, despite a few 3-2 counts and a walk, he prevailed in two shutout innings of work.
After the game, Bard explained to Rox Pile that it was a little bit different of a situation for him. And it wasn’t because he had to pitch two innings but he knew that he might pitch two innings entering the ninth inning.
“This time, they actually gave me a heads up that it might be two (innings) when they called down (to the bullpen) and I don’t normally get that,” Bard said. “It just kind of happens or, usually, I have to talk (manager) Buddy (Black) into it. I mean, I did a lot of it last year and the year before so as long as I can get some rest, I don’t mind doing it.”
The Rockies offense didn’t score much and hasn’t scored much recently at all (three unearned runs in their last three games). Connor Joe told Rox Pile that it was huge for the pitching staff to keep them in games while the offense hasn’t been great.
“We’re not playing the kind of baseball that we need right now but to grind out a win like that (was big),” Joe said. “What the pitching staff did tonight and what they’ve been doing to keep us in games is huge for us. All that we can ask for is an opportunity to win the game and we had that yesterday (and) we had that today.”
As for Freeland, Joe said that Freeland is an “ultimate competitor” who will “give us a competitive start every time.”
In the rubber match today, Ryan Feltner (0-1, 7.20 ERA in one start) will be called up from Triple-A and toe the slab for the Colorado Rockies against Zach Thompson (2-4, 4.88 ERA in eight games/seven starts) at 12:35 PM (Eastern)/10:35 PM (Mountain).