The Colorado Rockies came back to Denver riding a four-game winning streak ahead of their home opener on Friday night.
After a tough loss to the surging San Diego Padres, Colorado is looking to get back on track in the second game of a three-game weekend series at Coors Field on Saturday night.
The Padres rallied for four ninth-inning runs and then held on for an 8-7 win Friday night.
The Rockies will look to bounce back behind left-hander Kyle Freeland on Saturday night. San Diego will counter with its own southpaw, Joey Lucchesi.
In his first start, Lucchesi (0-0, 4.91 ERA) worked only 3 2/3 innings against the Diamondbacks on Monday, allowing two runs on five hits and a walk while striking out two. He was effective in his first two trips through the Arizona order but struggled after that, and it could lead to a limited workload.
"Joey, I thought the stuff was pretty good," San Diego manager Jayce Tingler said after his team emerged with a 6-2 win over the Diamondbacks that evening. "If anything, he has a little trouble with some of the lefties. He minimized damage for the most part."
Lucchesi has faced the Rockies plenty of times in his short career, producing poor results. In eight games, all starts, he is 2-2 with a 3.89 ERA in 44 innings. He has made half of those starts at Coors Field, where he has gone 1-1 with a 4.71 ERA.
Freeland (1-0, 3.00 ERA) is also no stranger to Saturday's opponent, and he comes into his second start after a solid first outing. He struck out five in six innings against Texas, allowing two runs on four hits and three walks in a 5-2 victory on Sunday.
Saturday might be a little tougher for Freeland, who is 2-3 with a 4.09 ERA in nine games, seven starts, in his career against San Diego.
Playing in Denver might benefit Freeland. He grew up in the metro area and is accustomed to the thin air. He has made 41 career starts in 44 games at Coors Field and is 18-14 with a 4.34 ERA in his home park. He struggled last year no matter where he pitched, and the 25 homers he allowed were evidence.
Freeland finished 3-11 with a 6.73 ERA in 22 starts overall in 2019.
"I remember there were times last year when I would get a baseball and it felt great in my hand and the seams were the right tension, they were tight and they were how I liked the baseball," Freeland said. "Then that ball would get fouled off and I would get another baseball from the umpire and it would feel completely different. Not even close. So the one thing I noticed in my one start was the consistency of the baseballs and how it felt better in my hand."
The Padres emerged victorious on Friday even without Eric Hosmer. The veteran first baseman has been dealing with a stomach ailment that is unrelated to COVID-19, and he has missed five of the club's first eight games.
--Field Level Media