Tied for the National League lead in losses and in search of his first win in three months, Colorado Rockies right-hander Kyle Freeland will take the mound on Sunday looking for just a little help from his friends
Freeland (4-12, 4.84 ERA) has not exactly experienced bad luck over his past 13 winless starts, posting a 6.12 ERA in the stretch. But he hasn't received much run support either. Heading into Saturday's play, Freeland's 2.26 run-support average since his last win on May 14 was second lowest in baseball
Now comes a test against the red-hot Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday, who have a seven-game winning streak with victories in 11 of their 12 games in August. They are 19-8 in the second half and have opened up an 8 1/2-game lead in the National League West
Freeland will be tasked with trying to avoid a four-game sweep at the hands of the Dodgers. The visit to Los Angeles started out so promising for the last-place Rockies, who pushed the Milwaukee Brewers into extra innings twice in their most recent series after taking two of three at St. Louis to begin the current 10-game road trip
Colorado rookie Ezequiel Tovar hit a home run on the first pitch of the game Saturday, but the club did not score again in a 4-1 loss to Los Angeles. Tovar has 12 home runs
"We talked about the threat of power with Tovar and it showed in the first inning," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "He has double-digit homers. So he's got some pop and I think, as his career really gets going, I think you'll see more homers. He's having a good year and I'm really proud of him.
Freeland enters off a no-decision at Milwaukee on Tuesday when he pitched well by allowing three runs over six innings. The outing helped Colorado to a 7-3 victory when they scored four runs in the 10th inning
The Colorado native is 5-9 lifetime against the Dodgers in 22 starts and has a 4.65 ERA
The Dodgers will counter with left-hander Julio Urias (9-6, 4.39), who finally appears to be in top form after struggling with inconsistency, not to mention a hamstring injury, this season
Urias enters off 14 2/3 consecutive scoreless outings, earning the win against both the Oakland Athletics on Aug. 3 and the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday. He has given up a combined seven hits in 11 innings over those starts, and he held the Toronto Blue Jays scoreless over the final 3 2/3 innings of the Dodgers' 8-7 win on July 25
"The results have been positive, but mostly just feeling like myself," Urias said in Spanish. "Feeling like myself mechanically. Feeling like with all three of my pitches I can make an adjustment. That's what I'm liking and I'm hoping I can keep that constant
"There's some things I still have to work on. Some pitches, first-pitch strikes I'm not always locating. (I'm) looking at the video to see what I can work on with that. But the truth is, I really like how I've done.
Urias is 6-2 lifetime against the Rockies in 20 appearances (17 starts) and has a 4.58 ERA
Los Angeles' 4-1 victory over Colorado on Saturday came behind home runs from Will Smith, James Outman and Amed Rosario. Enrique Hernandez had two hits. Rosario and Hernandez have been key contributors since both were acquired just before the trade deadline
--Field Level Medi