The Colorado Rockies left San Diego on Sunday with momentum and renewed confidence.
They will welcome the Padres to Denver on Friday night reeling from being swept at home by the Cleveland Guardians as their home losing streak reached seven games.
Kyle Freeland (2-5, 4.39 ERA) will start for the Rockies while the Padres will send MacKenzie Gore (4-2, 2.50) to the mound in a battle of lefties in Friday’s series opener.
The Padres finished a road sweep of the Chicago Cubs with a 6-4 win on Thursday. It was the first time they swept a four-game series at Wrigley Field since August 2010.
San Diego has won eight of its past 10 and at 41-24 owns the best 65-game start in franchise history. The Padres also moved into sole possession of first place in the National League West with their Thursday win.
San Diego is thriving even though manager Bob Melvin and bench coach Ryan Christenson have been on the COVID-19 list since Saturday. They could rejoin the team as early as this weekend.
Padres third baseman Manny Machado collected his 1,500th hit while going 3-for-4 on Wednesday, and then he went 3-for-5 on Thursday. He has multiple hits in five of his past nine games.
“It’s pretty impressive,” teammate Luke Voit said. “I’ve obviously played with some great guys in St. Louis and New York, but I think he’s definitely the best player I’ve played with.”
Gore will try to rebound from his worst start of the year, which came against the Rockies on Saturday. In his first career appearance against Colorado, he allowed six runs and lasted 2 1/3 innings, the shortest start of his rookie year.
His mound opponent last Saturday was Freeland, who got the victory in Colorado’s 6-2 win. He yielded three runs on two hits in six innings. Freeland is 4-5 with a 3.89 ERA in 14 career starts against the Padres.
The seven-game home losing streak isn’t the only dubious mark the Rockies have. They committed two errors Thursday in a 4-2 loss to the Guardians, and they have made at least one error in their past 13 home games, which is a franchise record. It’s the longest such streak in the majors since the 2000 Oakland A’s had a miscue in 15 straight home games.
One of the lone bright spots during the Rockies’ recent streak of poor play has been the performance of rookie catcher Brian Serven. He was recalled in mid-May and has seen more playing time this month with Elias Diaz struggling.
Serven had his first four-hit day in the Thursday loss, including his first triple, and raised his average to .333 (17-for-51). He splashed onto the scene when he hit two home runs in his second career game, May 21 against the New York Mets, and has six multi-hit games in the 17 he has played.
“Serv’s at-bats have been solid,” Colorado manager Bud Black said. “He’s not expanding the zone, he’s getting on the fastball, he’s getting a good pitch to hit, and he’s taking a good rip at it. He’s in a good spot, and we need that at the bottom of the order.”
–Field Level Media