Christian Friedrich was a first-round draft pick for Colorado but hardly pitched like one in two difficult seasons in the Rockies' minor league system.
After getting assistance from some major league veterans, the left-hander will try to help Colorado avoid a sixth straight loss and a three-game sweep to the host San Diego Padres during his major league debut Wednesday afternoon.
Friedrich was the No. 25 overall pick in 2008 but his career appeared to be stalling at the Double-A level. He went 3-6 with a 5.05 ERA in 18 starts in Tulsa in 2010 and 6-10 with a 5.00 ERA in a career-high 25 outings in 2011.
"They were probably excited in the beginning, but probably a little disappointed the last two years," he told the team's website. "Getting up here is what I've wanted to do. This is what they've expected, and I hadn't met those expectations."
After that trying campaign, the left-hander worked out with Philadelphia southpaw Cliff Lee this winter in Arkansas. He also sought advice from 49-year-old teammate Jamie Moyer and Mike Hampton, an All-Star with Colorado in 2001, during spring training.
That has seemed to work as Friedrich was 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA in five starts at Triple-A Colorado Springs this year.
"Everything happens for a reason," he told the team's website. "If every mistake that happens and you learn from it, then a positive outlook comes from it. Instead of freaking out about giving up runs, figure out why you gave up the runs so you don't do it again."
The Rockies (12-17) will try to give their young starter some support while ending their offensive woes away from home. Colorado is averaging 2.9 runs and hitting .213 in its 11 road games this season.
The Rockies have batted .190 and pushed across 10 runs over their last five contests there, including a 3-1 defeat Tuesday night.
Todd Helton singled in that lone run during the opening frame. The Padres (11-20) tied the game in the bottom of that inning, went ahead on Will Venable's double in the fifth and got some insurance from Orlando Hudson's RBI triple in the eighth.
The Rockies have scored four runs or fewer in each of their last 10 road games, and plated five or more in 13 of their 18 home contests. Colorado is averaging 6.5 runs at Coors Field this season.
The Padres will try to take advantage of that disparity to record a season-high third straight win Wednesday and their first sweep of a home series with the Rockies since Sept. 4-6, 2006.
Anthony Bass (1-3, 3.51 ERA) will try to help his team pull off that sweep while rebounding from a difficult outing. The right-hander gave up six runs over six innings Friday to Miami, including five in the opening frame, but avoided the loss when San Diego rallied to force extra innings in an eventual 9-8 loss.
Bass also had a three-run triple in that game and an infield single for his first two major hits.
"Anthony did a great job of righting the ship, making pitches as he went along," manager Bud Black said. "A lot of pitchers cave in there, say it's not their night, but not Anthony, which is really a great sign for him."
Bass is 2-1 with a 2.40 ERA in three starts against the Rockies. The right-hander hasn't made more than one start against any other team.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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