Blister shortens Freeland's night in SD
SAN DIEGO – Kyle Freeland’s last three starts coming into Friday marked his most effective stretch this year.
The left-hander allowed one run total and had been on a 12-inning scoreless streak ahead of his outing against the Padres. But Freeland’s start came to an abrupt end, and he allowed three runs over five-plus innings in the Rockies’ 4-2 loss at Petco Park.
Freeland dealt with a blister on his left middle finger that he also battled in his previous outing against the Cardinals on July 3. Freeland said the blister limited his pitch arsenal vs. the Padres.
“I battled it last start,” Freeland said. “It was able to hold up through six innings, and then this start it kind of flared up on me right in the third or fourth inning. I was able to pop it a couple times and kind of grind through it.
“But there in the sixth inning, I couldn't throw any sort of offspeed without it really flaring up. … The only pitch I could really throw without a burning sensation or feeling that it gets bigger was the changeup, so that's really not going to play against a lineup like the Padres.”
Freeland held the Padres hitless for three innings before Jake Cronenworth doubled to lead off the fourth and later came in to score on a single by Trent Grisham.
The lefty also helped himself out by driving in Chris Owings with a two-out double to left field in the top of the fourth inning. But what looked to be another solid outing for Freeland ended after he faced two batters in the sixth inning. Freeland gave up a leadoff single by Cronenworth and a ground-rule double by Manny Machado.
Following Machado’s double, Freeland’s left hand was looked at on the mound by the Rockies’ athletic trainer, and he was removed from the game after 64 pitches.
Rockies manager Bud Black said Freeland had been effective in limiting the Padres’ lineup but it was the right move to take Freeland out in the sixth inning.
“I thought he had good fastball command, some life to the fastball velocity,” Black said.
Tyler Kinley came in to relieve Freeland but could not strand Cronenworth and Machado. Colorado lost the lead to San Diego and couldn’t gain it back. The Rockies were limited to one hit, one walk and one hit batter against the Friars’ bullpen through the last 5 1/3 innings.
Despite the quick hook after battling the blister issue, Freeland has been pleased with the way he has thrown over the past few outings.
His scoreless streak ended at 15 1/3 innings after Grisham’s one-out single in the fourth. Still, it is the longest for any Rockies pitcher this season.
“I'm happy with the way that I'm pitching,” Freeland said. “I'm happy with the way that I'm communicating with our catchers behind the dish, where I think we're doing a good job.
“This blister, it's frustrating. I've had it my whole career. I don't know if it's the baseballs, where my pressure is on the baseball, whatever it is [that] causes it. The best we can do is just fight against it and try to make it as comfortable as possible for me every five days and get it healed up as quick as possible.”