A pair of struggling 26-year-old pitchers get the spotlight Thursday afternoon when the Colorado Rockies and host San Francisco Giants meet for the last time in 2019 in the finale of a three-game series that's been dominated by youngsters.
Colorado left-hander Kyle Freeland (3-11, 6.84 ERA) and San Francisco righty Tyler Beede (5-10, 5.23) each looks to cap a disappointing season on a positive note. The Rockies (68-90) will be concluding their season road campaign while the Giants (76-82) continue Bruce Bochy Appreciation Week.
It's been a high-stress series for both Bochy and Rockies manager Bud Black, with each having had to endure a 16-inning marathon on Tuesday before another tightly contested, 2-1 contest on Wednesday that ended on a walk-off home run.
Second-year right-hander DJ Johnson, the fifth Rockies pitcher, served up the game-ending blast to rookie Jaylin Davis in the rematch after Bochy and Black had combined to use 57 players -- the second most in major league history -- in a 5-hour, 31-minute affair on Tuesday.
Bochy found a use for 29 of his guys in the game, setting a Giants franchise record on his way out the door this weekend.
Interestingly, if the record survives the rest of the week, new rules will assure the mark won't be broken again anytime soon. That's because starting next season, rosters will be capped at 28 in September, 12 fewer than what's allowed under current regulations.
Bochy assured reporters in the aftermath of Tuesday's game that he isn't necessarily a fan of the dramatic change.
"From a personal standpoint, I actually like seeing these young players get a chance to experience time in the major leagues," he said. "Maybe cut (the rosters) back a little, whether it's five or six (players), but still, don't cut it back to the point that some of these young guys who grind the whole year don't get time. Even if they get a cup of coffee, they can say, 'I made it to the big leagues.' I'm good with that."
One player whose career appeared to be in jeopardy on Tuesday night produced good news even before the start of Wednesday's contest when Rockies pitcher Jeff Hoffman, who had been carted off the mound the night before, was back on his feet and gushing over a positive medical report.
Hit on the knee with a line drive off the bat of Alex Dickerson, Hoffman reported a day later he'd received nothing more than a bruise, and he still considers himself available to make the season-ending start against the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday.
"The last thing I wanted to do was end my season like that -- not on my own terms," Hoffman noted to reporters before Wednesday's game. "But to have pain like that and 20 to 30 minutes later get the good news, it was a big relief. I'm just happy that nothing crazy happened."
Given the 2019 track records of Thursday's starters, Bochy and Black could have another busy afternoon.
Freeland worked just two innings on Saturday against the Los Angeles Dodgers in his first game back following a groin injury. He is 1-1 against the Giants this season in three starts, and 6-3 against them in his career with a 3.13 ERA in 11 starts.
Beede, meanwhile, has faced the Rockies just twice in his career -- both times this season -- and gotten roughed up on each occasion. He's allowed seven runs and 11 hits in just 5 2/3 innings, going 0-2 with an 11.12 ERA.
In his latest outing, Beede gave up six runs on seven hits in six innings during a 6-0 loss to the Atlanta Braves on Friday.
--Field Level Media
Giants, Rockies conclude tightly contested series
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