Saturday, June 10, 2023 03:10 PM (ET)
Last Meeting ( Jun 9, 2023 ) San Diego 9, Colorado 6

The Rockies started their season with two wins against the host San Diego Padres, but that was the last time Colorado looked comfortable against any of its National League West rivals.

The Padres came back and won the final two games of the opening series, and the Rockies have now dropped eight in a row and 14 of 15 against division opposition.

San Diego beat Colorado 9-6 on Friday in the opener of a three-game series at Denver.

The teams will go at it again in a matinee on Saturday. The Padres will send Ryan Weathers (1-4, 5.09 ERA) to the mound to face Kyle Freeland (4-7, 4.06) in a matchup of left-handers.

Weathers is 0-1 with a 9.69 ERA in his four career appearances (three starts) against the Rockies, all of which came in his rookie year of 2021.

On Friday, Colorado got its first look at Fernando Tatis Jr. since the 2021 season, and he came through with a home run and a double, but it was the hot-hitting Juan Soto who got things going for the Padres.

Soto followed up a career-best, five-hit game on Wednesday with a single that sparked a three-run first inning. The Padres, already a potent lineup, got Xander Bogaerts back after he missed four games due to a wrist injury.

Bogaerts said the time off helped him get close to full health.

"I've felt better every day since I came out of the game (on June 3)," said Bogaerts, who went 2-for-5 with two runs on Friday. "I feel good to play."

While San Diego is humming, the Rockies are scuffling. Colorado has dropped five straight and nine of the past 11 while wearing out the bullpen. It showed Thursday when Pierce Johnson coughed up a one-run lead in the ninth in a 6-4 loss to the San Francisco Giants, and it cost the Denver native his role as the closer.

Johnson was given the ninth-inning job when Daniel Bard was away from the team to deal with anxiety. Johnson converted his first 11 save opportunities but has blown his past two.

"We're going to take a step back with Pierce, move him earlier in the game," Colorado manager Bud Black said before the Friday game. "We'll see how each and every game plays out.

"When Daniel went on the injured list in spring training, we had to move on the fly. We felt the best option at that time was Pierce, and Pierce delivered."

The bullpen overall has been forced into heavy innings, and Friday didn't help. Starter Austin Gomber got lit up early and was out of the game after four-plus innings.

Colorado hopes to get a strong outing from Freeland, who will face the Padres for the second time this season. He tossed six scoreless innings in the second game of the season to get the win. Freeland has faced San Diego 21 times in his career, 19 of those starts, going 7-6 with a 4.40 ERA.

Freeland is coming off a hard-luck loss at Kansas City on Sunday, when he gave up just two runs in seven-plus innings.

--Field Level Media

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