Nationals complete day-night sweep despite Freeland’s rebound for Rockies

Jul 24, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Kyle Freeland (21) pitches against the Washington Nationals in the first inning in game two of a doubleheader at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The answers are gone for the Colorado Rockies. Each time a new quandary has appeared in front of their efforts to win lately, they’ve been speechless.

In the latest 2-0 loss, the Washington Nationals put forth Patrick Corbin. Their answers against the southpaw amounted to a mere three hits. In the game’s entirety, they had five.

The loss dropped the Rockies’ record to 47-55, their first time under .500 by eight-or-more games since the first month of the season. At this same point last year, the postseason-bound club was a reversal at 55-47.

Ahead are takeaways from the loss.

Freeland finds the footing that’s evaded him 

It was only a moment, but it was a large one. After striking out the side in the fifth frame, Kyle Freeland scurried off the mound, exuding the confidence that’s been lost for so long.

If only for a start, he was back. And in true vintage fashion, Freeland had the power of the called strike on his side.

Over his 109 pitches, the southpaw tallied 15 strikes without a swing, pegging the corners throughout his six innings. In that span, he allowed only four hits and a single unearned run.

Freeland also induced seven groundouts and 27 foul balls in the nod.

Things looked to be getting hectic for Freeland after a grounder snuck through the legs of his second baseman, Garrett Hampson. Instead of folding under the frustration, a meeting from Chris Iannetta did the trick. The very next inning, he tallied the trio of aforementioned strikeouts that served as his outing’s best stanza.

The rebound effort was the first time Freeland’s gone more than five innings without allowing multiple earned runs since April 18.

Since his return from Triple-A Albuquerque, Freeland has a 6.43 earned run average across three starts.

Whether Freeland’s return to his former self is too little, too late remains to be seen.

Corbin plays traffic cop against Rockies’ scuffling offense

It wasn’t due to a lack of effort for the Rockies offense. Patrick Corbin, as he has been most of the last two years, was merely dominant.

With runners in scoring position against the veteran, the Rockies went 0-for-4, failing to convert their three hits and walks apiece into runs.

A leading culprit for the failures was an unusual face in Nolan Arenado.

In only the first inning, the Rockies’ first two hitters – Charlie Blackmon and Trevor Story – got on base. Arenado, who boasted a .413 average with runners in scoring position prior to the loss, grounded into a double play, virtually ending the threat.

Later on, Arenado once again came up with a chance to end the shutout. After a Story triple, the third baseman popped out to first.

The struggles for the All-Star came despite a recent seven-game hit streak. During the spree, however, he hit a mere .259, with only one hit in each of the contests. In his last 11 games overall, that mark drops to .216.

The remainder of the Rockies’ lineup wasn’t much better, going 2-for-17 against Corbin with seven punchouts. It was the fourth time in the last nine games that the Rockies have scored two-or-fewer runs.

Doubleheaders serving as Rockies’ nemesis in losing skid

Due to postponed games, the Rockies have played two day-night doubleheaders in the last two weeks.

Across those four contests, including Wednesday night’s finale, they’ve gone 0-4. In that quartet of losing efforts, the Rockies have been outscored by a lofty 34-4 tally.

Doubleheaders are unusual in the majors. After playing in multiple games per day for much of their youth careers, professionals are subjected to the practice less often.

The latest iteration of the endeavor for the Rockies couldn’t have come at a worse time. In the month of July, they dropped to 3-15 with the pair of losses. Among the National League contenders, the Rockies also fell to eight games out of the second Wild-Card spot.

To find the last time the Rockies orchestrated a winning streak of three-or-more games, one would have to go all the way back to the middle of June. Their last streak of even a pair of wins was all the way back at the end of June.

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