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Freeland can't secure another feather in his cap in Opening Day loss to Dodgers

Patrick Lyons Avatar
April 9, 2022

Over the course of his five-plus seasons with the Colorado Rockies, Kyle Freeland has performed quite well during high-profile games.

Friday against the Los Angeles Dodgers, in front of 48,627 frenzied fans, he experienced his first hiccup during a 5-3 loss at Coors Field.

In the 2017 home opener at 20th and Blake against these same Dodgers, Freeland worked six-innings of one-run baseball in a game that doubled as his Major League debut and, subsequently, his first career win.

The following year, he understood the assignment in the 2018 National League Wild Card Game. Tossing 6.2 scoreless frames against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, K-Free helped lift the Rockies to their first postseason win since 2009.

Then came his first Opening Day start in 2019. Fresh off a fourth-place finish in the NL Cy Young Award thanks to a microscopic 2.85 ERA, it was 7.0 innings of success in Miami. Freeland gave up a run on a solo homer, but allowed only two hits total in the win over the Marlins.

On Opening Day 2022, the Denver native appeared poised for another repeat performance.

He cruised through the first two frames and had a scoreless third inning despite some traffic following a walk to Gavin Lux and a hit-by-pitch to Freddie Freeman.

“Those first three innings were really smooth for me. That fourth inning, I got two quick outs and it ended up snowballing on me,” Freeland said during the post-game scrum.

Will Smith slapped a single and Chris Taylor doubled on a ball just out of Charlie Blackmon’s reach. A single from Lux scored both Dodgers to tie the game at 2-2. 

“That Lux at-bat ate at me a little bit because I had him 0-2 and he worked a good at-bat to get a quality pitch that I could have made a little bit better,” he admitted.

Then came even more onslaught by Los Angeles in the form of an RBI-double from Mookie Betts and a single by Trea Turner off Tyler Kinley to score Betts.

From that point forward, the bullpen was heroic. The trio of Kinley, Ashton Goudeau and Justin Lawrence threw 5.1 innings of shutout ball.

Lawrence was particularly good, retiring the Dodgers in order during the final two innings.

Offensively, the Rockies’ bats were quiet following a two-run second inning. Ryan McMahon doubled ahead of a Connor Joe single and José Iglesias added an RBI-single.

After a double from Kris Bryant, Colorado wouldn’t record a base hit until a C.J. Cron single in the eighth.

A pair of two-baggers in the ninth from Elias Díaz and Blackmon reduced the deficit to two at that point, but Bryant went down on three pitches against closer Craig Kimbrel.

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