Konnor Pilkington realized his dream when he made the roster of the Cleveland Guardians prior to the start of the season.
Pilkington (1-0, 3.57 ERA) is — for now — in the Cleveland rotation and faces a tough task for his fifth career start.
The left-hander will take the ball on Wednesday when the Guardians continue their three-game series at the Colorado Rockies in Denver. Left-hander Austin Gomber (3-6, 6.17) will start for the Rockies.
The Guardians posted a 4-3 win in 10 innings on Tuesday night. It was their second straight victory and fifth in their last six games.
Pilkington, acquired from the Chicago White Sox at the trade deadline last July, began the season in the bullpen. He made his major league debut April 15 against San Francisco and his first career start on May 8 versus Toronto.
Pilkington has bounced between Cleveland and Triple-A Columbus this season but has been with the Guardians since being recalled on May 26.
Pilkington got his first victory against Kansas City on June 1, which marked the first time he pitched past the fourth inning. He didn’t give up a run in that 4-0 win but allowed four in 5 2/3 innings against Oakland last Thursday.
He will face a challenge pitching in the thin air at Coors Field, but so far the rookie has been relishing the experience of pitching in the majors.
“It’s a lifelong dream to get to the major leagues and when you do you want to enjoy it and feel that success,” Cleveland pitching coach Carl Willis said. “He never stops competing. He never stops attempting to attack the strike zone.”
Wednesday will be his first time facing the Rockies.
Gomber had a bounce-back performance in his last start at San Francisco on Thursday. He allowed two runs on five hits in six innings to earn his first victory in more than a month. Gomber had allowed 17 runs in 6 1/3 innings in his previous two starts.
He is slated to make his first career start against the Guardians but he has logged three relief appearances against them. Gomber hasn’t recorded a decision but has a 2.70 ERA in 3 1/3 innings against Cleveland.
Gomber has struggled in his home starts this season, going 1-3 with a 6.21 ERA.
The Rockies received some potentially bad news this week.
Reliever Tyler Kinley, who has an 0.75 ERA in 25 appearances this season, might be out longer than 15 days. He was placed on the injured list Sunday, retroactive to Thursday, with a right elbow ulnar nerve injury.
Manager Bud Black said the prognosis is more severe than originally hoped.
“Kinley had some imaging done the last couple of days,” Black said before Tuesday’s game. “It looks like he’s going to be out a little bit longer than we first anticipated. That’s a blow to Tyler and a blow to us.”
Kinley will have a consultation with Dr. Thomas Noonan, an orthopedic surgeon and Colorado’s medical director. The fear is Kinley will need Tommy John surgery.
–Field Level Media