Padres face rookie Freeland in Thursday matinee
SAN DIEGO — Voters on Wednesday honored 22-year-old Colorado right-hander Antonio Senzatela as the National League’s Rookie of the Month for April.
But they could just as easily have voted for another Colorado starting pitcher. Left-hander Kyle Freeland, who faces the San Diego Padres on Thursday afternoon at Petco Park in the rubber match of a three-game series, received votes for the honor.
“All I know is they are both very good,” Padres manager Andy Green said of the two rookie pitchers who helped Colorado climb to the top of the National League West standings in April.
Senzatela, who faced the Padres on Wednesday night, and Freeland are not the same type of pitcher.
Senzatela’s forte is speed. His fastball has touched 98 mph.
Freeland, who turns 24 on May 14, hits 94 mph with his fastball. But his forte is a four-pitch mix — fastball, slider, cutter, changeup — that he commands like veteran.
“He pitches,” Rockies manager Bud Black said of Freeland, who finished the first month 3-1 with a 2.93 ERA in five starts. Senzatela was also 3-1 in April, with a 2.81 ERA in five starts.
Freeland will be matched against a veteran who is actually almost the same age.
Luis Perdomo, who turns 24 on May 9, joined the Padres last year as a Rule 5 free agent and worked his way into the rotation midway through the season as his sinker developed.
He has yet to get a decision this season and has a 4.96 ERA in three starts. He also missed two starts in April while on the disabled list for 15 days with posterior right shoulder inflammation.
“I don’t think it was really anything,” Green said. “He’s a young kid. He felt something. At first, he didn’t want to say anything. And when he did, I think he was worried.”
Perdomo’s strength is the sinker he developed last season while working with Darren Balsley.
“When he gets ground balls, Luis is going to be effective,” Green said. “But he still has a ways to go, learning how to use his sinker with his other pitches.”
In his last outing, Perdomo held the Giants to one earned run over six innings in San Francisco. He gave up six hits with no walks. He had five strikeouts as the Giants scored three runs. It was his first quality start of the season.
Right-handed hitters are batting only .132 against Perdomo this season, but left-handed batters are hitting .444.
“Luis is still a work in progress,” Green said. “He made great strides last year. But, remember, before last season he had never pitched above Single-A.”
Perdomo led the Padres in wins (nine) and innings pitched (146 2/3) and was second in strikeouts (105) and starts (20) last season.
Since the start of the 2016 season, the Padres have had dismal records in day games and the last games of series.
They are 3-5 in day games this season and 18-40 dating back to the start of 2016. They are 3-5 in series finales this season and 15-45 since the start of 2016.