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Rockies May Be Doomed With Opening-Day Starter On Injured List

On Monday night, during a matchup with the Philadelphia Phillies, the Colorado Rockies bench was diminished so much that the Rockies decided to use Opening-Day starter Kyle Freeland as a pinch runner. As Freeland tried and unsuccessfully scored at home, Phillies reliever Jeff Hoffman collided with the Rockies starter. This play resulted in a slight right shoulder separation for Freeland. On Friday, Colorado announced that their 2024 Opening Day starter has been placed on the 15-day injured list with a left elbow strain. Long-time Rockies reliever Peter Lambert has been named to Colorado’s starting rotation. Although Freeland has had an awful start to the regular season, the Colorado Rockies may be doomed without their veteran starter. It will soon become apparent if this Rockies team can or cannot improve without Freeland on the mound.

Rockies May Be Doomed With Opening-Day Starter On Injured List

The 30-year-old starter has recorded a 0-3 record through four starts. Through 15 and two third innings, he has put up a horrifying 13.21 ERA. He’s recorded eight walks and nine strikeouts so far this year. Freeland has given up a total of 25 runs in his four starts. Colorado’s Opening Day starter has pitched a season-high five innings in back-to-back starts. On Opening Day, he gave up 10 runs on 10 hits in the Rockies embarrassing 16-1 loss. In his next start, the Rockies veteran pitcher gave up seven runs on nine hits in Colorado’s 12-2 loss.

Although Austin Gomber and Cal Quantrall are 30 and 29 years old, respectively, Freeland has been with the Rockies for eight seasons. Colorado’s Opening Day starter has invested his career with the Rockies, and he’s been an anchor for a franchise in total rebuild mode. Since debuting in 2017, Freeland has pitched over 1,000 innings. Only 14 pitchers have pitched in more innings in the last seven years. Besides the shortened COVID-19 season, the 30-year-old starter has pitched 100 innings or more every season. Freeland may not need surgery for now, but at 4-16, the Rockies season may be doomed with no chance to recuperate after every tough loss. Once he’s back, can he revert to his solid starts and stop giving up so many runs?

This Pitcher Needs To Shine In Freeland’s Absence

Now out of the bullpen and into the starting rotation for now, Peter Lambert needs to show why he’s one of the Rockies most viable pitching options. The 27-year-old reliever, now starter, has a 2-0 record through six appearances on the mound. Through 11 and two third innings pitched, Lambert has a 2.31 ERA with 10 strikeouts. During the Rockies 12-4 win over the Blue Jays on Friday, April 12th, the Rockies reliever pitched three innings. He only allowed one hit and a walk while striking out three in Colorado’s big-time win. Lambert must shine in the starts he has before Freeland’s return. His solid pitching on the mound will be crucial.

The Rockies offense has struggled this season, with seven of the guys in the lineup striking out more than the MLB average. If this team can put some runs on the board while Lambert’s on the mound, the Rockies reliever can prove his worth. From July of last season through the end of the season, Lambert started 11 games for the Rockies. He put a 2-6 record in that timeframe. The 27-year-old reliever must have better outings than his starts from last season. This Rockies team, one of the worst teams in the league, must turn things around. Perhaps that starts with Lambert, showing his control and versatility on the mound.

Main Photo Credits: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports


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