DENVER — Two left-handers who have been very successful lately will square off Thursday when Kyle Freeland starts for the Colorado Rockies against Steven Matz of the New York Mets.
The Rockies will be looking to win the four-game series after winning their second straight game over the Mets 10-8 on Wednesday. Colorado will also be trying to avoid a dubious major league record. The Rockies have allowed at least eight runs in each of their past nine home games [url=http://www.officialsabres.com/authentic-adidas-jack-eichel-jersey]http://www.officialsabres.com/authentic-adidas-jack-eichel-jersey[/url] , tied with the St. Louis Browns in 1894 for the longest such streak.
Freeland (6-6, 3.59 ERA) has made 14 starts, half of which the Rockies have won. He worked a season-high seven innings for the fourth time this season in his last start Saturday at Texas. Freeland allowed two runs in seven innings, ending up with no-decision in Colorado’s 5-2 loss.
In his past 10 starts, Freeland, 25, is 6-3 with a 2.89 ERA and has limited opposing hitters to a .237 average and a .646 OPS in that stretch. He’s 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA in two career games (one start) against the Mets. The start was on May 6 at Citi Field this season when Freeland, the winning pitcher, allowed two runs and four hits in seven innings with eight strikeouts and one walk in Colorado’s 3-2 victory.
In eight starts at Coors Field this season, Freeland is 3-2 with a 2.93 ERA. A Denver native who grew up pitching in the city’s mile-high altitude, Freeland is 9-10 with a 3.52 ERA in 24 career games (21 starts) at Coors Field and has never been fazed by the hitter-friendly ballpark.
“In my mind, it’s baseball,” Freeland said. “You have to make your pitches, no matter where you’re at. Home runs are going to be home runs. People are going to hit good pitches here. People are going to hit bad pitches here. If you don’t execute the pitch and they get whacked out of the park, it’s going to happen here; it’s going to happen at sea level.
“Things can snowball on you quicker here just because of how large our outfield is. But you still have to have that mentality of I can get out of this jam here.”
While winning his last start, Matz (3-4, 3.31) gave up one run in 6 2/3 innings Saturday at Arizona in the Mets’ 5-1 triumph. Matz lost 2-0 to the Rockies at Citi Field on May 5, giving up one run and three hits in six innings. He’s 0-3, 6.50 in four career starts against the Rockies and 0-0, 5.40 in one start at Coors Field.
In his past five starts, Matz [url=http://www.officialsabres.com/authentic-adidas-jake-mccabe-jersey]Youth Jake McCabe Jersey[/url] , 27, is 2-1 with a 1.88 ERA. During that stretch, Matz has allowed two or fewer runs in four of the five outings, and opposing batters are hitting .208 with a .609 OPS.
“He’s in a good place mentally,” New York pitching coach Dave Eiland said. “He’s in attack mode, where he’s attacking the hitters. Early in the year, he was a little bit unsure of himself, not really trusting his stuff as much. So therefore, he wasn’t in attack mode. And when the first little thing would go wrong … he would kind of lose his concentration, his focus, and it would affect the next few pitches and might make the difference in his outing.
“He’s worked really hard at letting things go that are out of his control and just focusing on things he can control. And once he started doing it, he got back to believing in himself, trusting his stuff, attacking the strike zone, attacking the hitters.”
At this point after nearly a month of superb pitching, Matz has a reservoir of success to draw upon when things do go wrong.
“I’m sure it still eats at him a little bit,” Eiland said, “but he doesn’t wear his emotions on his sleeve, so to speak.”
Houston Astros catcher Brian McCann finally got to a point that something had to be done to try to fix his troublesome right knee.
McCann had arthroscopic surgery Tuesday after going on the disabled list for the second time this season, and the third time in less than a year, because of knee discomfort.
Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow told MLB.com and the Houston Chronicle during a 5-3 win at Texas that the team was optimistic that the surgery would resolve the issue that kept recurring. While not specific about the procedure or a timetable [url=http://www.officialsabres.com/authentic-adidas-jason-pominville-jersey]Jason Pominville Jersey Kids[/url] , the GM said he’d expect McCann back in September to get ready for October.
Manager A.J. Hinch said before the Astros’ 5-3 win at Texas that he and McCann had a long conversation about the knee problems when the team played in Tampa last weekend.
”It’s just continually the same issue over and over with his right knee,” Hinch said. ”One of the options is surgery, and he went back to Houston to take care of it.”
Catcher Tim Federowicz, who made two starts earlier this season when McCann was on the DL, was promoted from Triple-A Fresno.
Max Stassi was the Astros’ starting catcher Tuesday night against the Rangers. Hinch said Stassi would get the bulk of the catching during McCann’s absence.
But Stassi never got behind the plate against the Rangers. He was hit by a pitch on his right (throwing) wrist while batting in the first inning. He stayed in the game to run, but Federowicz went to catch when the Astros took the field.
X-rays were negative, but Stassi has a bruised wrist and was considered day to day.
Shortstop Carlos Correa, who has been out since June 26 because of lower back soreness, also was back in Houston. He is eligible to come off the DL as early as Friday, though Hinch wasn’t sure if Correa would be ready to play then.
”He’s been reporting to Minute Maid (Park) every day and working with our people there,” Hinch said. ”The good news is that everything has been a step forward. The uncertainty is still we haven’t done any baseball activities yet, so we don’t know how that’s going to impact his timeline until we get home.”
McCann missed nine games during his first DL stint this season before being activated June 8, the last time Houston played at the Rangers.
He was also on the DL for 11 days last August because of right knee soreness before the Astros went on to win their first World Series title. McCann played in all seven World Series games.
His latest DL move was retroactive to Monday, a day off for Houston.
McCann has hit .206 with five homers and 17 RBIs in 50 games this season. He was in a 1-for-26 slump before going on the DL for the first time this season on May 29. He hit .171 (7-of-41) with one homer and three RBIs in his 13 games in June after returning from the DL.
Stassi has hit .255 with seven homers and 22 RBIs in 49 games for the Astros. Federowicz hit .328 with six homers and 22 RBIs in 38 games at Fresno.
”I have a lot of confidence in Stassi and Fed, both with major league time,” Hinch said. ”They’re comfortable, they know our pitchers, they know our program, our preparation, all things that make me feel really good about going into each particular game.”