Lefties face off again in Nationals-Rockies rematch

Sports

Kyle Freeland grew up in Denver, played high school baseball 10 miles from Coors Field and is one of the Colorado Rockies’ pitchers of the present and future.

He has experienced the highs and lows of baseball, finishing in the top four in voting for the Cy Young Award in 2018 and getting optioned to the minor leagues during a nightmare 2019 season.

After a rough start to this year, Freeland (6-8, 4.50 ERA) has started to look like the pitcher who won 17 games three seasons ago, even if his record doesn’t reflect it. The left-hander will make his final home start of the season on Tuesday when Colorado hosts the Washington Nationals in the second game of a three-game series.

Washington will go with left-hander Patrick Corbin (9-15, 5.92 ERA) in what might be his last start of the season.

The Nationals (65-92), who lost two of three to the Rockies (71-85) in Washington earlier this month, won beat Colorado 5-4 on Monday behind Josiah Gray’s second major league win.

Colorado is 46-33 at Coors Field but has lost five straight and 10 of 11 there.

The same two pitchers squared off on Sept. 18 in Washington. Freeland got the better of Corbin in that game, won by the Rockies, 6-0. Freeland bounced back from two straight subpar outings to pitch six scoreless innings, yielding seven hits and a walk while striking out seven.

Freeland escaped a bases-loaded, no-out jam in his final inning of that game to preserve the shutout, using one of the Rockies’ four double plays on the day to keep it scoreless.

“Every time ‘Free’ is going, as an infield as a whole — but especially the left side — we feel like we’re going to be pretty busy, and we embrace that,” shortstop Trevor Story said after the victory.

It was a typical start for Freeland against Washington. In five career outings vs. the Nationals, he is 3-1 with a 1.95 ERA.

Corbin is trying to reach double-digit victories for the fifth time in his career. He has won 14 games three times, most recently in 2019, the year he helped the Nationals win the World Series. He only had 11 starts in the shortened 2020 season, and Tuesday will be his 31st start this year.

Corbin, who spent his first six major league seasons with Arizona, is very familiar with the Rockies. He has started 23 games and made 24 appearances against them, second most to San Francisco, and is 10-5 with a 4.78 ERA in those outings.

He is 4-2 with 6.20 ERA in 12 appearances — 11 of them starts — at Coors Field.

Corbin didn’t fare well against Colorado on Sept. 18, allowing six runs on 10 hits and three walks in four innings. However, he had a good bounce-back game at Cincinnati on Thursday. He tossed 6 2/3 scoreless innings in a 3-2 win and saw improvement thanks to his between-starts regimen.

“I’ve worked on a couple things in my bullpens, and every day when I’m throwing, to help repeat my delivery a little better,” Corbin said. “Just staying over my legs a little bit more and trying to throw quality strikes.”

–Field Level Media

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