Preview: Brewers at Rockies
DENVER — Assured of at least a series split thanks to a huge comeback, the Milwaukee Brewers will send Chase Anderson, their Opening Day starter, to the mound Saturday and look to clinch the four-game series with the Colorado Rockies.
The Brewers trailed 9-3 after four innings Friday night but beat the Rockies 11-10 in 10 innings to improve to 10-4 in one-run games.
Anderson, who is 3-3 with a 3.97 ERA, will oppose left-hander Kyle Freeland, who is 2-4 with a 3.95 ERA.
Rockies closer Wade Davis blew his second save in 16 chances when he gave up a game-tying two-run homer to Manny Pina with two outs in the ninth. Travis Shaw‘s two-out single off Jake McGee in the 10th drove in the winning run.
It was the Rockies’ first loss this season when leading after eight innings. The six-run lead was the largest the Rockies have squandered since Aug. 31, 2016, at Coors Field when they led the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-2 after seven innings and lost 10-8.
It was the Brewer’ eighth win in their last at-bat, tops in the National League. The six-run comeback on the road was their largest since July 2, 2011, at Minnesota when they trailed 7-0 and won 8-7.
“This one got away from us, for sure,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “It happens over 162 games. Hurts a little bit when it happens, but what I’ve noticed about this group — it bounces back pretty quick. We’ll be fine. But it’s a tough loss.”
In a 9-0 loss Sunday against Pittsburgh, Anderson gave up five hits and five runs in 5 1/3 innings. He’s 4-3 with a 4.68 ERA in 12 starts against the Rockies and was 1-0 with a 1.64 ERA against them in two starts last year.
Anderson began his career with Arizona before the Brewers acquired him in January 2016. After going 9-7 with a 4.01 ERA in 21 starts for the Diamondbacks in 2014 and 6-6 with a 4.30 ERA in 27 starts for them in 2015, Anderson went 9-11 with a 4.39 ERA in 31 games (30 starts) for the Brewers in 2016 and then blossomed for them last year, going 12-4 with a 2.74 ERA in 25 starts.
“It’s been a story of development for Chase,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “He’s improved. And I give him a lot of credit. I give Derek Johnson, our pitching coach, a lot of credit. I think we’ve made some good suggestions analytically for him that have improved him.
“He came to Milwaukee as a fastball-changeup pitcher. He’s (gotten) better velocity on his fastball, using it in better places. A much-improved curveball, that’s been a real key for him. If anything, the changeup’s become less of a factor for him.”
Freeland has pitched seven innings in each of his past three starts, going 2-1 with a 2.14 ERA in those games while yielding 13 hits and four walks in 21 innings with 21 strikeouts. While winning 3-2 Sunday at New York, Freeland allowed four hits and two runs to the Mets in seven innings with one walk and eight strikeouts.
Freeland is 0-1 with a 3.18 ERA in one career start against the Brewers. It was at Coors Field last season on Aug. 20 in the Rockies’ 8-4 loss, and he gave up three runs (two earned) on four hits and five walks with seven strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.
A Denver native, Freeland lives in Scottsdale, Ariz., in the offseason where the Rockies’ spring training complex is located. He worked extensively there from around Thanksgiving through spring training with Rockies co-pitching coordinator Darryl Scott on altering his mechanics.
Instead of lifting his front leg up, down and then out a la Clayton Kershaw, Freeland said it’s now leg up, feel the load on his back side and then go straight down the mound without swinging the leg out.
“I’m able to stay down through my target more, keep my front side up longer and really drive that pitch to the location I want it,” Freeland said. “And it’s taken care of a lot of other problems. I’m not getting sore as much. My body feels a lot better turning around from starts.”