DENVER — Two left-handers who have been very successful lately will square off Thursday when Kyle Freeland starts for the Colorado Rockies against Steven Matz of the New York Mets.
The Rockies will be looking to win the four-game series after winning their second straight game over the Mets 10-8 on Wednesday. Colorado will also be trying to avoid a dubious major league record. The Rockies have allowed at least eight runs in each of their past nine home games <a title="http://www.jetsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-terrelle-pryor-sr.-jersey" href="http://www.jetsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-terrelle-pryor-sr.-jersey">http://www.jetsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-terrelle-pryor-sr.-jersey</a> , tied with the St. Louis Browns in 1894 for the longest such streak.
Freeland (6-6, 3.59 ERA) has made 14 starts, half of which the Rockies have won. He worked a season-high seven innings for the fourth time this season in his last start Saturday at Texas. Freeland allowed two runs in seven innings, ending up with no-decision in Colorado’s 5-2 loss.
In his past 10 starts, Freeland, 25, is 6-3 with a 2.89 ERA and has limited opposing hitters to a .237 average and a .646 OPS in that stretch. He’s 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA in two career games (one start) against the Mets. The start was on May 6 at Citi Field this season when Freeland, the winning pitcher, allowed two runs and four hits in seven innings with eight strikeouts and one walk in Colorado’s 3-2 victory.
In eight starts at Coors Field this season, Freeland is 3-2 with a 2.93 ERA. A Denver native who grew up pitching in the city’s mile-high altitude, Freeland is 9-10 with a 3.52 ERA in 24 career games (21 starts) at Coors Field and has never been fazed by the hitter-friendly ballpark.
“In my mind <a title="http://www.seahawksauthorizedshops.com/authentic-ed-dickson-jersey" href="http://www.seahawksauthorizedshops.com/authentic-ed-dickson-jersey">http://www.seahawksauthorizedshops.com/authentic-ed-dickson-jersey</a> , it’s baseball,” Freeland said. “You have to make your pitches, no matter where you’re at. Home runs are going to be home runs. People are going to hit good pitches here. People are going to hit bad pitches here. If you don’t execute the pitch and they get whacked out of the park, it’s going to happen here; it’s going to happen at sea level.
“Things can snowball on you quicker here just because of how large our outfield is. But you still have to have that mentality of I can get out of this jam here.”
While winning his last start, Matz (3-4, 3.31) gave up one run in 6 2/3 innings Saturday at Arizona in the Mets’ 5-1 triumph. Matz lost 2-0 to the Rockies at Citi Field on May 5, giving up one run and three hits in six innings. He’s 0-3, 6.50 in four career starts against the Rockies and 0-0, 5.40 in one start at Coors Field.
In his past five starts, Matz, 27 <a title="Orlando Brown Jr. Color Rush Jersey" href="http://www.authenticsbaltimoreravens.com/cheap-orlando-brown-jr.-jersey">Orlando Brown Jr. Color Rush Jersey</a> , is 2-1 with a 1.88 ERA. During that stretch, Matz has allowed two or fewer runs in four of the five outings, and opposing batters are hitting .208 with a .609 OPS.
“He’s in a good place mentally,” New York pitching coach Dave Eiland said. “He’s in attack mode, where he’s attacking the hitters. Early in the year, he was a little bit unsure of himself, not really trusting his stuff as much. So therefore, he wasn’t in attack mode. And when the first little thing would go wrong … he would kind of lose his concentration, his focus, and it would affect the next few pitches and might make the difference in his outing.
“He’s worked really hard at letting things go that are out of his control and just focusing on things he can control. And once he started doing it, he got back to believing in himself <a title="Authentic Martin Fehervary Jersey" href="http://www.officialcapitals.com/authentic-adidas-martin-fehervary-jersey">Authentic Martin Fehervary Jersey</a> , trusting his stuff, attacking the strike zone, attacking the hitters.”
At this point after nearly a month of superb pitching, Matz has a reservoir of success to draw upon when things do go wrong.
“I’m sure it still eats at him a little bit,” Eiland said, “but he doesn’t wear his emotions on his sleeve, so to speak.”
HOUSTON — One obvious benefit of a club-record-tying 12-game winning streak and 13 victories in 14 games is the positive impact it has on the standings, something the Houston Astros could attest to before dropping the opener of a three-game set with the Kansas City Royals on Friday.
On June 5, the Astros (50-27) were the scuffling team, falling two games behind the Seattle Mariners in the American League West with a 7-1 loss, their seventh setback over 10 games. The entered this weekend 3 1/2 games ahead of the Mariners and maintained that lead Friday when Seattle lost at Boston 14-10.
Midseason standings are fluid <a title="Ed Dickson Color Rush Jersey" href="http://www.authenticsseattleseahawks.com/cheap-ed-dickson-jersey">Ed Dickson Color Rush Jersey</a> , and it’s far too early to get enthralled by scoreboard watching.
“I think I pay attention to our team,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “I appreciate the stress that comes with whether you’re a game up or a game back or five games up or five games back. I really think we’re chasing ourselves. I think we need to play our best baseball and we’ll sort out the standings as it gets towards the later end of the season.
“I’m aware of it because I’m a baseball enthusiast; I watch the scores all the time. It’s what I do. I’m not emotionally drained when other teams go on win streaks and I’m not emotionally charged by a couple losses. I just want our team to play well.”
Right-hander Lance McCullers (8-3, 3.77 ERA) gets the start in the middle game of the series for Houston. He is 1-0 with a 2.33 ERA over four career starts against the Royals, and he recorded a no-decision in his previous outing against them after allowing four runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks with nine strikeouts over six innings in a 7-4 Astros victory on Sunday at Kauffman Stadium.
The Royals will hand the ball to right-hander Ian Kennedy (1-7, 5.31 ERA) on Saturday. Kennedy is winless over his last 13 starts, one behind Athletics right-hander Chris Bassitt for the longest active streak in the majors. He is 0-7 with a 6.12 ERA since his only win on April 7.
Kennedy is 4-1 with a 1.99 ERA over five career starts against the Astros, including 3-0 with a 0.92 ERA over three starts at Minute Maid Park.
The Royals (23-52) on Friday began transitioning veteran Alcides Escobar off shortstop, ending his string of 407 consecutive starts there by moving him to center field for the opener of their series with the Astros. Escobar finished 2-for-2 with two walks, marking the first time since Sept. 6, 2017, against the Detroit Tigers that he reached base in all four plate appearances.
Escobar <a title="Cheap Baker Mayfield Jersey" href="http://www.brownscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-baker-mayfield-jersey">Cheap Baker Mayfield Jersey</a> , a free agent following the season, has been a mainstay at short for the Royals since 2011. Before making his first career start in center on Friday, Escobar last played that position on Aug. 2, 2010, while with the Milwaukee Brewers, shifting in the eighth inning after starting at shortstop.
“We know that he’s athletic enough to play it and we want Mondi (22-year-old infielder Adalberto Mondesi) playing short,” Royals manager Ned Yost said of Escobar. “We just think that the time is right. We talked to the coaches about it and they feel like he’ll be fine.
“He’s really excited about the opportunity at playing multiple positions, not only center but some third and some second. He knows that his next career move is probably going to be a utility-type player on the field and he’s anxious to start showing people that he can handle it.”
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