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How Can Colorado Stack Wins

The start of the season is an exciting time because everything is possible, and everyone is even. Unfortunately, the scales tip very quickly and dramatically at that time too. Statistic numbers and averages can be wildly high and shockingly negative when the sample size is so small, which is one explanation for why the Colorado Rockies look so bad as they near the end of the first month of the 2024 regular season. The other explanation is that there were some great wins, but the Rockies have yet to stack enough wins to take a full series victory.

With a record of 4 – 13 going into Tuesday’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies, the Rockies are exhibiting some trends that are disappointing to the fans. An all-to-familiar trend of injuries is the one that seems to be on everyone’s mind. Seeing Kris Bryant slide headfirst into the rightfield wall followed by the missing of several games due to back tightness is a familiar and difficult pill to swallow for many fans. However, circumstances reached an unexpected level when the absence of Brendan Rodgers and Jake Cave due to illness before Monday’s game resulted in Kyle Freeland pinch running into a collision at home plate before rolling around in the dirt holding his shoulder.

It takes some ingenuity and creativity to stack wins, and the Rockies are showing that they are not afraid to take some risks to figure things out. Having the team’s Ace pinch-run in the top of the ninth in a tied game was a gutsy move by manager, Bud Black, and it almost paid off. Ezequiel Tovar and Ryan McMahon were both out when Elias Diaz sent a line drive to left field and hustled it out for a double. With Nolan Jones coming to the plate, and a very tired looking Diaz at second, Black made the call to put in the fully rested 6’4” pitcher to run in the winning run.

As the first wild pitch got by the Phillies catcher, Freeland stole third and recorded his first stolen base in his major league career. The adrenaline must have been pounding through Freeland as the excitement crescendo when the next pitch again got away from J. T. Realmuto and Freeland took off for home. All the makings of a classic game winning run were there in that moment including the dramatic collision between Phillies pitcher, Jeff Hoffman, and Freeland at the plate. Freeland was called out, but officials were asked to review the instant replay for possible obstruction at home. In the video, Hoffman’s foot is seen crossing in between Freeland’s foot and the plate as Freeland slides into home. The two players’ cleats collide causing Hoffman to fall over onto Freeland as he makes the tag. A frame-by-frame analysis is necessary to distinguish whether the tag happened before Freeland’s foot scrapes the plate, and while the instant replay clearly shows that the obstruction of home plate is an unintentional coincidence, there really was not a clear enough angle to determine if that mitted ball touched Freeland before his cleat dragged across the edge of the plate.

Fans were disappointed to hear the out call, but then a collective gasp could be felt as Freeland lay facedown in the dirt for a moment before getting up and being escorted off the field with a painful-looking sag to his right shoulder. While Freeland is a left-handed pitcher, a right shoulder injury could also present problems. While the Rockies did go on to lose 1 – 2 in the 10th inning, Black and Freeland showed the kind of creativity and risk-taking that the Rockies are willing to do to try to win more games. It may not have brought a win this time, but it made for exciting baseball.


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