A season like no other in major league baseball comes to an end for 14 teams on Sunday afternoon. The Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks had hopes of playing in the postseason but the NL West rivals will instead finish up against each other on Sunday.
The finale of the four-game series isa matchup of left-handers. Colorado will send Kyle Freeland to the mound against Madison Bumgarner.
The Rockies (26-33) ensured they wouldn't finish last in the division with a 10-3 win over the Diamondbacks (24-35) on Saturday night, ending Arizona's four-game winning streak. Even a win Sunday would be little consolation for a Colorado team that began the season winning 11 out of 14 only to go on an extended nosedive and be eliminated from the 16-team playoff.
The Rockies have missed the postseason two straight years after making consecutive appearances in 2017 and 2018.
Colorado's slump has been frustrating, but Freeland (2-2, 3.69 ERA) did his best to keep the Rockies alive past Sunday. Colorado has lost each of his past four starts since Sept. 7 despite Freeland posting a 2.96 ERA and limiting opponents to a .202 batting average. During those four starts, the Rockies have scored a combined six runs while he's been in the game, and they have not won since his first two starts of the year. He is 0-2 with a 4.15 ERA over the last 10 games.
Freeland is 3-4 with a 5.27 ERA in 13 career starts against Arizona.
One thing Freeland -- and Colorado's staff -- has done well is get opponents to hit grounders. Opposing batters have hit into 65 double plays. Freeland is a fan of the groundout.
"I think I love them more than getting strikeouts," Freeland said. "It's the old two-for-one special, and as the old saying goes from 'Bull Durham': 'Strikeouts are fascist, groundballs are more democratic.' You get more people involved. That's always stuck with me. I love getting double-play groundballs."
He might need to keep it up if Colorado is going to end 2020 on a high note with a win over Bumgarner. The former World Series hero for the San Francisco Giants has not recorded a victory yet this season, going 0-4 with a 7.36 ERA.
He has been successful against the Rockies over his career, however. Overall, he is 16-8 with a 3.27 ERA in 35 career starts. Sunday will be the first time he faces them this season.
In his last start Sept. 20 at Houston, Bumgarner tossed five scoreless innings and struck out a season-high seven. He said he had made a mental adjustment and felt better about how he pitched, although he didn't go into what specifically he changed in his approach.
"I'm going to keep that to myself," he said after the outing against the Astros. "Did things a little different and it showed up. I felt good about what we did today and the way we did it."
--Field Level Media