Shaw crumbles after Freeland’s early exit, Rockies fall to Diamondbacks

Aug 20, 2019; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Kyle Freeland (21) reacts during the fourth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Rockies’ offense has continued to swing a hot bat in Arizona, but their bullpen has failed to follow suit.

Once again, with the game on the brink, the ‘pen sank the ship. The Diamondbacks sprinted to an 8-7 win in its wake.

In the 2019 season, the Rockies’ stable of pitchers has allowed eight-or-more runs in a game 38 different times. They’re 5-33 in those instances.

Ahead are takeaways from the loss.

Bullpen’s rough streak extends after Freeland’s exit

It wasn’t a true-to-form effort from Kyle Freeland in the loss. His effort notwithstanding, the relievers pegged with picking him up faltered once again.

After exiting with an injury, Freeland left a pair of runners on base for Bryan Shaw.

Without even allowing a hit, the veteran found himself in trouble. He walked both of the first two hitters he faced before allowing a two-run double to Jake Lamb. Another run-scoring hit from Eduardo Escobar swiftly pushed the 3-3 tie to an 8-3 deficit.

The latest chance for Shaw once again ballooned his season-long earned run average – now at 5.67. Through the season’s first two months, his ERA was 1.93 across 23 appearances. Since then, it’s been 8.91.

The rest of the Rockies’ bullpen went 2.1 scoreless innings. Unfortunately, the effort just wasn’t enough after Shaw’s breakdown.

With milestone matchup, Arenado celebrates in fitting fashion

In his 1000th game, it was only fitting that Nolan Arenado did something to impact the game. 

Across his six-plus-year career, the third baseman has become a mainstay in highlight reels. Once again, nearly on cue, he sent a ball out that had no business being hit:

The home run was his 31st of the year. Among Rockies’ hitters, he is tops in long balls, jockeying back-and-forth with fellow infielder Trevor Story and veteran Charlie Blackmon. 

Dating back to the All-Star break, he’s sent nine balls out of the park. In that same span, he’s also driven in 29 runs. 

With the Rockies out of contention, rest days and a lackluster team record will likely ensure that Arenado’s name doesn’t grace MVP talks. 

It surely won’t stop the All-Star from trying. 

New day, same old Story

A day that Trevor Story goes without a hit has become noteworthy. Amidst his hot streak, the shortstop once again had an effective day at the plate.

In his 4-for-4 effort, Story brought his career-best average up from .290 to .296. The hit total included a double, his 25th extra-base hit since the All-Star break. That mark leads the league in front of Milwaukee’s Keston Hiura (24). 

In the last eight games, Story has four multi-hit efforts. His season total has risen to 41 in the spree. The four-hit day was only the third of his young career. 

A Gold Glove and Silver Slugger are in the realm of possibility for Story in a lost year for the club. The title of best shortstop in the league is already one that could – arguably – be placed on the former Irvine High School standout. 

Freeland once again stays firm, leaves early with injury

The days of Kyle Freeland going deep into ball games without allowing a run appears to be over – at least for this year. 

More recently, a middling effort from the southpaw with a couple of earned runs and a solid five innings has become more common. It’s hard to ask for more after the year’s rough start. 

Before a demotion, Freeland allowed five-or-more earned runs, five times. His ERA was an unsightly 7.13. Since coming back, the results have brightened. 

Freeland has gone five innings and allowed three-or-fewer runs in three of his eight starts. His last start was on track to be the fourth before the bullpen allowed each runner he left on base in the sixth to score. His early exit came due to a groin strain.

Across 5.1 innings, he allowed five runs (three earned) in the loss and once again lowered his season ERA – now at 6.98. He also struck out two and walked two. 

To make matters worse, his infield committed a pair of errors in the game that accounted for two of his runs given up. 

Of the occasional blemishes in his most recent outing, the long ball played a factor once again. Freeland allowed his career-high, 25th homer of the year to Nick Ahmed in the second frame. Among Rockies’ starters, he’s allowed the second-most long balls.

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