Athletics-Rockies Preview (Jul 28, 2018)

July 28, 2018

DENVER -- It took more than half the season, but the Colorado Rockies, typically dominant at home, have finally nudged their record above .500 at Coors Field.

Starting pitching has been integral to the Rockies' rise.

Their 3-1 win Friday night over the Oakland Athletics ended the A's season-high six-game winning streak. In addition to snapping Oakland's season-high six-game winning streak on the road, Oakland loss for the first time on the road this season when allowing three or fewer runs.

The loss was just the eighth for the A's (61-44) in their past 35 games.

The Rockies (55-47) have won 10 of their past 12 games at Coors Field and 21 of their past 30 games overall since June 19.

On Friday, the Rockies received an outstanding start from Kyle Freeland. He held the A's scoreless for six innings, improving his record to 9-6 while lowering his ERA to 3.13 overall and 2.45 in nine starts at Coors Field.

Colorado starters have excelled since June 19 as they have compiled a 3.49 ERA.

"I think there's been a greater focus on early count strikes," Rockies manager Bud Black said after Friday's win. "We've tried to simplify it over the last month with our starters about really pounding the strike zone early and really trying to put guys away. Not letting hitters get back into counts, if we do get ahead. I think the guys have run with it."

Freeland said, "I think we just over the course of the season kind of found our image, found our look as a group."

Antonio Senzatela, the Rockies' least effective starter recently, will take the mound Saturday against the A's, who will start left-hander Brett Anderson (2-2, 5.46 ERA).

Senzatela (3-3, 5.55) will be making his third start since beginning his second stint this season with the Rockies on July 3. That night, he threw seven scoreless innings against San Francisco, but Senzatela is 0-2 with a 7.94 ERA in his past two starts. Both were on the road -- July 8 at Seattle and Sunday at Arizona.

Before facing the Diamondbacks, Senzatela was reinstated from the 10-day disabled list where he was placed retroactive to July 10 with a blister on his right middle finger. In a 6-1 loss to the Diamondbacks, Senzatela gave up five hits and four runs in 5 1/3 innings.

He has never faced Oakland.

Anderson is 1-0 with a 4.97 ERA in five career starts against the Rockies, for whom he made eight starts in 2014. He was reinstated from the 10-day disabled list July 9, and he is 2-0 with a 3.14 ERA since returning in three starts, all won by the A's.

In his last start Monday at Texas, Anderson allowed six hits and two runs over six innings in the A's 15-3 romp.

The A's signed Anderson to a minor league contract March 19. He began the season at Triple-A Nashville before making his A's debut May 2. He was 0-2 with a 7.63 ERA in four starts when he was placed on the disabled list May 19 with a strained left shoulder.

Anderson is 2-2 with a 4.30 ERA in six starts at Coors Field -- four in 2014 and two in 2015 while with the Los Angeles Dodgers -- and said he should benefit from having pitched there.

"It's been a little while, but kind of knowing the conditions and knowing the altitude and stuff, I'll try to harken back on what happened," Anderson said. "Just treat it like any other start and hopefully give us a chance to win.

"That's kind of what you have to do here lately (as a starting pitcher) is just give us a chance. Our offense has been holding down the fort, and hopefully I can just continue to do my part. I've pitched here a couple different times with the Dodgers, but I haven't been here in a while. I always liked playing here. It's a good atmosphere, good stadium, so it'll be fun."



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