Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Rockies set roster, lineup for Wild Card Game

@DKramer_
1:28 PM EDT

The Rockies have shown confidence in left-hander Kyle Freeland throughout what's been a breakout year, and they will reassert that conviction on Tuesday with their season on the line for the National League Wild Card Game against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. • NL Wild Card Game presented by Hankook

The Rockies have shown confidence in left-hander Kyle Freeland throughout what's been a breakout year, and they will reassert that conviction on Tuesday with their season on the line for the National League Wild Card Game against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

NL Wild Card Game presented by Hankook Tire: Tonight., 8:08 ET/6:08 MT on ESPN

Freeland, who will make his first career start on short rest other than a by-design, three-inning outing on the last day of the 2017 regular season, and Antonio Senzatela are the only starting pitchers included on Colorado's roster for Tuesday. The construction is related to available arms and reliever matchups, as German Marquez, Tyler Anderson and Jon Gray are unavailable after having pitched each of the past three days.

Position-by-position breakdown

NL Wild Card Game schedule and results

Left-hander Jake McGee, who has pitched to a 6.49 ERA, and DJ Johnson, a September callup who has pitched almost exclusively in low-leverage situations, join closer Wade Davis, setup man Adam Ottavino, Scott Oberg, lefty specialist Chris Rusin, Harrison Musgrave and Seunghwan Oh in the bullpen.

The winner of Tuesday's game will face the Brewers in the NL Division Series, starting Thursday at Miller Park, while the loser will go home.

Pitchers
Freeland is working on a career-high 202 1/3 innings and pitching on short rest. Depending on strength limitations and how Tuesday's game manifests, Freeland could give Colorado length -- Freeland has thrown at least six innings in 25 of his 33 starts, including 12 of his past 13 -- and the Rockies will need it. Senzatela, who is the only long reliever available on Tuesday, would be the likely starter for Game 1 of the NLDS on Thursday should they advance. Colorado's highest-leverage relievers -- Davis and Ottavino -- are well rested; neither has pitched since Friday.

FAQs about NL Wild Card Game

Infielders
Beyond the starters -- Desmond at first base, LeMahieu at second, Story at shortstop and Arenado at third -- the Rockies will have rookie Garrett Hampson and utility infielder Pat Valaika available off the bench. Hampson has filled in admirably when called on, playing both second and shortstop as a fill-in when injuries have mounted to LeMahieu and Story, who suffered right elbow UCL inflammation two weeks ago in Los Angeles. Valaika, who was the club's primary right-handed pinch hitter in 2017, has struggled to be effective in that role this season. Valaika is slashing .156/.214/.246, and Hampson has hit .275/.396/.400.

Outfielders
Matthew Holliday will get the nod in left field and bat fifth as the Rockies load their lineup with right-handed hitters against Cubs lefty Jonathan Lester. Holliday has been used more for righty-lefty matchups, and he is hitting .313/.450/.406 against southpaws in 40 plate appearances. Blackmon is a lock in center, leaving Carlos Gonzalez and Gerardo Parra on the bench and the scorching-hot David Dahl starting in right. Dahl has homered in six of his past eight games. He went deep at Wrigley Field on May 1 off Kyle Hendricks as part of back-to-back homers to lead off the game with Blackmon, who is batting leadoff.

Catchers
The Rockies have gotten marginal offensive contributions from their catchers this season, and they will carry three on Tuesday. Chris Iannetta, who will start and bat eighth, has been Freeland's catcher for 32 of 33 starts. Tony Wolters and Andrew Butera, whom the club acquired from the Royals on Aug. 31, will be available off the bench.

Pitchers (10):
Wade Davis
Kyle Freeland
DJ Johnson
Jake McGee
Harrison Musgrave
Scott Oberg
Seunghwan Oh
Adam Ottavino
Chris Rusin
Antonio Senzatela

Catchers (3):
Drew Butera
Chris Iannetta
Tony Wolters

Infielders (7):
Nolan Arenado
Ian Desmond
Garrett Hampson
DJ LeMahieu
Ryan McMahon
Trevor Story
Pat Valaika

Outfielders (5):
Charlie Blackmon
David Dahl
Carlos Gonzalez
Matt Holliday
Gerardo Parra

Starting lineup:

  1. Blackmon, CF

  2. LeMahieu, 2B

  3. Arenado, 3B

  4. Story, SS

  5. Holliday, LF

  6. Desmond, 1B

  7. Dahl, RF

  8. Iannetta, C

  9. Freeland, P

Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_.