Rockies terrible Kyle Freeland decision may come back to haunt them

The Colorado Rockies risked way too much by having Kyle Freeland pinch run.
Kyle Freeland, Colorado Rockies
Kyle Freeland, Colorado Rockies / Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Rockies were short on depth for Monday's game against the Philadelphia Phillies. That came back to haunt them in the ninth inning, when their top pitcher, Kyle Freeland, was asked to pinch run.

Generally, the base paths are not too dangerous. But, there is risk — a bad slide, an errant throw, a tweaked knee — and there is a reason most teams avoid putting their best pitchers in harm's way. Just one mistake, one stroke of bad luck, can irrevocably change a team's season-long outlook. The Rockies, already off to a slow start at 4-12 entering the game, almost witnessed their entire season go up in smoke Monday evening.

Freeland was on third with two outs when a pitch got past Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto behind home plate. The pitch was in the dirt and it took a high bounce toward the backstop, which Realmuto recovered quickly. The result was a bang-bang call at home, with Freeland sliding into a collision with Phils reliever Jeff Hoffman.

Immediately, Freeland writhed on the ground in pain. When he got up to walk to the dugout, his right shoulder was slumped awkwardly.

Pretty much the worst-case outcome for Colorado, at least in the moment. He was called out, too, so the Rockies couldn't even get the go-ahead run across the plate. Philadelphia would score in walk-off fashion in the 10th inning to secure a 2-1 victory, so Freeland's health was put on the line for nothing.

Rockies risk Kyle Freeland injury with boneheaded pinch running decision

Thankfully, Freeland appears to have avoided serious injury. He was quickly back at the top step of the dugout during the official review of the play at home plate. It was ruled as no interference and a correct out call, though, which means Colorado blew its golden opportunity to score a run and nearly lost its No. 1 ace.

Freeland is a lefty, which is another silver lining. He appeared to bang up his right arm on the slide, but the real money-maker was unscathed. That is good, I suppose, if not particularly comforting.

The Rockies were short on options. Catcher Jacob Stallings was the only healthy player on the Rockies bench, and Freeland is the far superior athlete. Colorado manager Bud Black offered a simple explanation to reporters.

"We're trying to win the game. Kyle is an athlete. He's hit. He's run. He's one of our fastest players."

Freeland is off to a rocky start this season, posting an 0-3 record through four starts with a 13.21 ERA and 2.553 WHIP. The Rockies were always going to struggle on the pitching front, but Freeland's bad season got worse on Monday. He can't seem to catch a break.

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