MLB: Rockies hope to settle in at home against Royals

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The Colorado Rockies will look to win consecutive games at home for the first time in more than a month when they begin a three-game series against the Kansas City Royals on Friday in Denver.

Colorado earned a split of their four-game home series against the Milwaukee Brewers with a 4-3 victory on Thursday. The Rockies last won consecutive home games on May 26-27.

Kansas City is beginning an eight-game road trip heading into the All-Star break after losing two of three to the Tampa Bay Rays. Michael Massey and Bobby Witt Jr. each homered in Thursday’s 10-8 loss.

Witt is 14-for-36 (.389) with two home runs and five RBIs over his past 10 games for the Royals, whose 48 wins are their most in the first half of a season since 2015, when they had 52.

Massey played his first game at second base on Thursday since returning from a low back strain on June 24. He primarily has served as a designated hitter while the team monitors his recovery, but Massey is looking forward to returning to the field on a full-time basis.

“I’d much rather be out there on the field, playing every day,” Massey said. “And I feel like I’m close. From a physical perspective, I feel like I’m much stronger than I was six weeks ago.”

The Rockies received a spark from outfielder Jake Cave in Thursday’s win over Milwaukee. Cave drew praise from Colorado manager Bud Black after hitting a tie-breaking solo blast in the sixth inning for his first homer of the season.

“He’s playing a great all-around game over the last couple of months,” Black said. “He knows how to play. He brings great energy every day, in the dugout and in the clubhouse. He’s gritty.

“He’s capable of (hitting a homer), and I’ll go out there and say that there’s some more coming.”

Kansas City’s Cole Ragans (5-6, 3.33 ERA) and Colorado’s Kyle Freeland (0-3, 7.94) are set to square off Friday in a battle of left-handers.

Ragans, 26, is looking to bounce back after giving up five runs over 4 2/3 innings in a 7-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians last Saturday.

“Not great,” Ragans said. “I felt like I didn’t command stuff overall. Fell behind a lot and they made me pay.”

Ragans had posted a 1.84 ERA over his previous eight starts before last Saturday’s setback.

He ranks second in the American League with 126 strikeouts.

Ragans has made one career appearance against the Rockies, tossing two scoreless innings in relief while a member of the Texas Rangers on May 20, 2023.

Freeland, 31, has pitched well in two starts since coming off the 60-day injured list (left elbow strain), posting a 1.42 ERA across 12 2/3 innings.

The Denver native allowed two runs over 6 2/3 innings in a no-decision against the Chicago White Sox last Sunday.

“Good fastball command and he got some jam shots and some key strikeouts,” Black said. “The fastball was in on the righties, and the breaking ball was good, too, at times. That was a good outing for Kyle.”

Freeland is 0-2 with a 6.17 ERA in two career starts versus Kansas City.

Colorado is monitoring the status of center fielder Brenton Doyle, who sat out Thursday’s game due to tightness in his left calf and is listed as day-to-day.

–Field Level Media

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