Rockies’ Freeland faces tough encore vs. Padres
DENVER — Kyle Freeland will make his encore Tuesday when he starts for the Colorado Rockies against the San Diego Padres.
The Denver native made his major league debut in Colorado’s home opener Friday against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Freeland, a left-hander who turns 24 next month, gave up one run and four hits in six innings, with six strikeouts, and came away with the victory in the Rockies’ 2-1 win.
“It’s a big confidence booster for me, being able to come off that outing, especially as a debut and the home opener,” said Freeland, who was taken eighth overall in the 2014 draft out of the University of Evansville.
The home opener was played before a sellout crowd of 49,169. There might be half that many people in the Coors Field stands Wednesday afternoon when the Rockies and Padres conclude their three-game series, not that Freeland’s objective has changed.
“There’s a little less stress to it,” Freeland said of his start Wednesday, “but, as long as you keep the same mentality as you have every game, going in trying to execute all your pitches and put your team in a good position to win, that’s the goal every time out.”
Freeland threw 95 pitches (55 strikes) against the Dodgers. He has a four-pitch mix that includes a 91-93 mph fastball, slider, curveball and changeup. Freeland’s slider is his best secondary pitch, and he rates his curveball and changeup about even.
He came out of the start against the Dodgers obviously pleased but wanting to “tweak” his changeup, mostly its location.
“It occasionally cut back and would find a barrel,” Freeland said. “So we were just getting to the point where I’m getting the right extension, the right turnover where I’m getting it to fade out (away from a right-handed hitter).”
Luis Perdomo was scheduled to start for the Padres. But, after their 3-2 loss Tuesday night, manager Andy Green announced that Perdomo was being placed on the 10-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation and Zach Lee will start.
The Padres recalled Lee on Sunday from Triple-A El Paso, one day after he was scheduled to start for that club. Lee took the roster spot of Trevor Cahill, who was placed on the 10-day disabled with a back injury.
Lee made his first start in his major league debut — and only appearance in the big leagues — with the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 25, 2015, at Citi Field against the New York Mets. The Padres claimed Lee off waivers from Seattle on Dec. 13, 2016. He has never faced the Rockies.
Although he’s sidelined, Perdomo, who turns 24 next month, can continue the unusual role he has taken on for an inexperienced player. He went 9-10 with a 5.7 ERA for the Padres last year. The Rockies selected Perdomo from the St. Louis Cardinals in the Rule 5 draft in December 2015 but dealt him to the Padres in a pre-arranged deal for a player to be named or cash. Perdomo spent most of the 2015 season at the low Class A level before moving up to high Class A.
This season, the Padres have three players on their 25-man roster who were selected in the Rule 5 draft in December — reliever Miguel Diaz, catcher Luis Torrens and infielder Allen Cordoba. Perdomo has been an immense help to them.
“His presence in our clubhouse gives all three of those guys confidence they can succeed,” Green said. “Once somebody’s kind of blazed the trail and they can look at that guy, rub shoulders with him, it makes their job easier.”