Rockies battle unwelcome foes: Dodgers, COVID-19

National Sports

The Colorado Rockies had good vibes coming off a successful week of hosting the All-Star Game. But that positive feeling ended when the team was hit with COVID-19 contact tracing issues before Friday night’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Pitchers Yency Almonte, Jhoulys Chacin and Antonio Senzatela, as well as outfielder Yonathan Daza, were placed on the COVID injured list before the 10-4 loss to the Dodgers.

Not only that, but the Rockies are without manager Bud Black and first-base coach Ron Gideon for the same reason.

The Rockies will host the Dodgers again Saturday night in the second game of a three-games series with bench coach Mike Redmond serving as the acting manager.

“I can’t talk any specifics. All I can say is these guys are in MLB’s contact tracing protocols,” Redmond said before Friday’s game. “I wish I could give you more, but I can’t.”

The one thing Redmond could confirm is that left-hander Kyle Freeland will start on the mound for the Rockies on Saturday night. It originally was scheduled to be Chi Chi Gonzalez, but he was moved up a day to start for Senzatela on Friday night.

Freeland (1-3, 5.48 ERA) has pitched well after a few rough starts to begin his season. A left-shoulder strain in spring training delayed his debut until May 25, and he struggled in his first few outings. Since allowing five earned runs against San Diego on June 16, he has given up a combined four earned runs in his past four starts.

He has a career record of 2-5 with a 4.43 ERA against the Dodgers in 12 starts.

The Dodgers will counter with Walker Buehler (9-1, 2.36). Buehler is 5-2 with a 3.99 ERA in 17 games, 13 of them starts, in his career against the Rockies. He is a respectable 1-1 with a 4.78 ERA in eight games, six starts, at Coors Field.

Buehler, who made his major-league debut against Colorado on Sept. 7, 2017, got a no-decision in his only start against the Rockies this season.

Buehler was in Colorado as part of the NL All-Star roster this week but didn’t pitch in Tuesday’s game. He was one of four Dodgers on the National League team, and manager Dave Roberts led the squad, but none have had COVID-19 issues.

The team got tested twice for the virus, and Roberts said no results were positive.

“We had to do that, and it makes sense,” he said Friday. “I’m trying to stay away from being frustrated. It is what it is; just got to kind of adhere to whatever they ask. I was hoping we were past it all, but unfortunately we’re not.”

Los Angeles continued its hold over the Rockies. The Dodgers have won 15 of their past 18 games against them and are 42-15 against their NL West Division rivals since 2018. They have won seven of the eight meetings between the teams this season.

–Field Level Media

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