Rockies, D-backs not conceding anything to Dodgers (Jul 21, 2018)
Early returns suggest that was a bad choice of words.
Contenders Arizona and Colorado did not seem to quiver before the start of their three-game series to open the post-break portion of the season Friday.
"We're the farthest thing from demoralized, I know that," Colorado manager Bud Black said before the Rockies' 11-10 victory over the Diamondbacks at Chase Field to move one-half game behind the Diamondbacks for second place in the NL West.
"Teams are going to do what they do. We worry about ourselves, and I think if we play our game we can play with anybody. With Machado or not. He's a good player. I'm sort of anxious to see him play. I haven't seen him play. As far our group being down about anything, no, not at all. Probably the opposite. It probably makes it more of a challenge."
The Diamondbacks echoed Black's sentiment.
"It's just another guy whose name is on the lineup card," Arizona left-hander Robbie Ray told mlb.com. "Just another scouting report you have to do. It's not like it's Babe Ruth."
Machado was 2-for-3 with two walks in his first game with the Dodgers at Milwaukee on Friday after making the All-Star team with Baltimore, where he recorded 24 homers and 65 RBIs.
The D-backs made the most valuable move in the division en route to a wild-card berth last season by acquiring J.D. Martinez, who had 29 homers and 65 RBIs in 62 games with Arizona.
"Last year, they (front office) did something to make us better, and I imagine they are going to do that again," right-hander Archie Bradley told mlb.com.
"You want to talk about being demoralized, let's go back to May and the way we were playing (going 2-17). That's demoralizing. Obviously it's going to make them better. He's a top-five player in this game probably, but at the end of the day you still have to lay it all there on the line. You have to go out and compete."
The D-backs have only had their projected middle-of-the-order group of Paul Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock, Steven Souza Jr. and Jake Lamb in the lineup for the last 10 games because of injuries to all but Goldschmidt.
"The guys in here, including myself, just need to play the way we are capable of," Souza Jr. said. "As soon as we do that, we are a really good ball club. Yeah, we've had an up-and-down year, but I still feel we are the team to beat in the division.
"He (Machado) is a really good ballplayer, but we have a really good ball club. He's only going to be able to bat four times in a game."
Freeland (8-6) is sixth in the league with a 3.11 ERA. He ranks fourth among NL pitchers in WAR at 4.5, according to baseball-reference.com, behind only the Mets' Jacob deGrom, Philadelphia's Aaron Nola and Washington's two-time defending Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer.
Freeland is 0-1 in two starts against Arizona this season and is coming off his best outing against them, when he gave up one run and six hits in 5 1/3 innings in a no-decision in the Rockies' 5-1 victory on July 12, his last start before the break.
"Fastball command has really improved from both sides of the plate, the consistency of his slider, how he is spinning it properly," Black said. "And I think more than anything, the increasing use of the changeup. It's a pitch he has used in the most critical of times, and that tells me that a pitcher has confidence in his changeup when he is throwing it in critical parts of the ball game."
Freeland has not given up more than two runs in any of his last six starts, and he is 2-0 with four no-decisions in that span. The Rockies have won four of those games and are 11-8 in his starts.
Freeland is 1-2 with a 4.07 ERA in five career starts against Arizona, his only victory coming in a 3-1 triumph at Chase Field on April 28, 2017, when he gave up one run in six innings. His only start against Arizona this season came on June 10, when he gave up four runs on four hits and four walks and took the loss in a Diamondbacks' 8-3 victory.
Godley (11-6, 4.61 ERA) has pitched well of late. He has won six of his last seven decisions and has given up more than two runs only once in his last eight starts. His 1.56 WHIP is the highest among the 39 NL qualifiers, but he has been supported by 4 1/2 runs per game.
He won his only start against the Rockies this season, giving up two runs in 5 2/3 innings in the game in which Freeland was the loser on June 10.
Godley is 4-0 with a 2.76 ERA against the Rockies in six career appearances, including four starts, against them. He is 5-2 with a 3.72 ERA at home this season.