The Colorado Rockies return to the mile-high altitude of Denver in the midst of a harrowing plunge
Colorado has allowed an average of eight runs per game during the skid that has dropped them 19 games below .500.
The Rockies appeared out of gas on Wednesday when they concluded a 10-game road trip with a 5-3 loss to the Cincinnati Reds. Colorado batters struck out 15 times
There's no doubt Thursday's off-day came at a good time for the Rockies
"We know what we signed for coming into the season: 162 games in 184 days," Colorado infielder Ryan McMahon said. "So obviously, during a stretch like that, it would definitely be awesome if you're playing good and you can show up every day and ride that momentum, but when you're not, you just have to show up and completely forget what happened the day before."
Rockies manager Bud Black also was itching for the one-day break
"It does come at a good time," Black said. "Our guys have been playing hard and played with a lot of energy. I think it comes as a breather for the guys -- get off their feet and exhale."
The Angels arrive in Denver on the heels of being shut out in consecutive home games by the Los Angeles Dodgers
The Angels had won 11 of 14 games before their bats went silent. They lost both games by 2-0 scores and had just five hits on Tuesday and two on Wednesday. Luis Rengifo had both hits on Wednesday when the Dodgers used seven pitchers during a bullpen game
"They pitched us well," Angels manager Phil Nevin said. "When you have a bullpen game against another team, it's hard to score with a different pitcher out there each time. It's just facts. We had some chances and got some matchups we liked, but it just didn't work out.
Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout each were hitless in seven at-bats in the series. Trout has 15 homers but has driven in just 39 runs while batting .250. His average is 50 points below his career mark.
The Angels are attempting to fight through a recent injury bug that has seen shortstop Zach Neto (oblique) and third baseman Anthony Rendon (wrist) go on the 10-day injured list, with infielder Gio Urshela (fractured pelvis) likely done for the season
Los Angeles will start left-hander Patrick Sandoval (4-6, 4.08 ERA) in the opener. He will be pitching in Coors Field and facing the Rockies for the first time
Sandoval, 26, ended a five-start losing streak by defeating the Kansas City Royals last Friday. He allowed four hits over seven shutout innings, walked four and struck out six.
Sandoval was hammered for 11 runs and 18 hits in just 8 1/3 innings over his previous two starts.
Colorado's Jurickson Profar is 2-for-2 with a homer off Sandoval.
Freeland, 30, is 0-4 with a 6.83 ERA over his last six outings. He has allowed five or more runs three times during the stretch.
One of those times was his last outing June 15 against the Atlanta Braves, when he was roughed up for seven runs and nine hits over 4 1/3 innings. Another came when he was torched for eight runs (five earned) and nine hits in two innings by the Texas Rangers on May 20.
Brandon Drury (6-for-14, one homer) and Hunter Renfroe (7-for-24, one homer) have both fared well against Freeland.
--Field Level Media