Dodgers Lineup: vs. ColoradoM.Ellis 4 Victorino 7 Kemp 8 Gonzalez 3 Ramirez 6 Cruz 5 Ethier 9 Ellis 2 Beckett 1
Hope is still alive. After last night’s victory over the Colorado Rockies, the Dodgers have now all of a sudden won four games in a row and move to two games back of the Cardinals for the second Wild Card spot in the National League. The Washington Nationals beat the Red Birds 6-4 in ten innings yesterday, and the Dodgers’ victory stalled what had seemed like certain elimination for the moment. Ever since their 2-1 loss to the Padres on Tuesday and Ned Colletti’s raised voice “meeting” in the coaching office, the Dodgers have not lost a game. In fact they have scored 27 runs in their last four games. Last night Matt Kemp‘s pair of homeruns, one each to left and right field, made us Dodger fans reminiscence back to the good ‘ole days of April. I can only imagine how our record would look if we had a full season of healthy Beast Mode. Joe Blanton pitched six shutout innings, and he did not walk a single batter. We could not have asked for a better performance from the often bashed Blanton. Thank you, Joe. The bullpen was very effective as usual, and Ronald Belisario, Kenley Jansen, and Brandon League all pitched scoreless ball. We could have one of the most dominant late inning relief trios in the league. It was a great night, but it only gets tougher from here. The Dodgers must continue to win, and the Cardinals need to lose a couple more.
The Dodgers will first need to sweep the Rockies. The Rockies have had a very tough and disappointing year. They lost almost all of their best players to injury. Troy Tulowitzki, Todd Helton, Dexter Fowler, and Carlos Gonzalez are all out with injury. Jim Tracy continues to manage in Jim Tracy fashion, and when all is said and done the Rockies will finish in last place in the division. In fact, there is a chance that they will lose 100 games if they should fail to win any of their remaining four games. The Dodgers should not take this final game with the Rockies lightly. They still have some talented young players, and we saw Rutledge make a fine diving catch on a sure base hit during yesterday’s game. Tyler Chatwood pitched admirably as well. The Dodgers need to play every game like it is their last, because if they don’t then Wednesday will in fact be their last.
Josh Beckett will go to the mound for his final start of the regular season for the Dodgers. The big right-hander hasn’t won since September 1st against the D-backs. Last time out versus the Padres he lost after pitching 5 2/3 innings and allowing
1 run on 5 hits at Petco Park. This will be Beckett’s 28th start of the season, and he has 164 1/3 innings under his belt thus far split between Boston and Los Angeles. With the Dodgers, Josh has a 1-3 record with a 3.16 ERA. In his career against Colorado, he is 4-2 with a 4.01 ERA. Most of the young Rockies haven’t had an at bat against Beckett.
The Rockies will counter with Jorge De La Rosa. The left-hander is returning from Tommy John surgery, and this will only be his third start since coming back. He wasn’t involved in the decision his last time out against the Cubs, and he pitched 6 2/3 innings while allowing 2 runs on 5 hits (two of which were solo homeruns). De La Rosa has had some trouble with the Dodgers in the past, and he has a 0-6 record with a 5.98 ERA against Los Angeles. Adrian Gonzalez has had his way with Jorge, and he is hitting .346 with 3 homeruns and 8 RBI against him. Gonzo is also riding a 11-game hitting streak going into today’s game. Matt Kemp has also clobbered him to a tune of .429 with 2 homers and 5 RBI.
Don Mattingly stated that he knows the Dodgers must win every day to put pressure on St. Louis. Today’s game, although against the lowly Rockies, cannot be taken lightly. The Dodgers need to play aggressively, and they cannot make any costly mistakes. Joe Blanton really stepped up last night in his last start for the Dodgers for this regular season schedule, and now Josh Beckett will be asked to do the same. Beckett, like Blanton, has pitched in high stakes situations before. Let’s finish the month of September with a bang, shall we? Or perhaps another Bison Blast.
St. Louis takes on Washington in game three of their set at 11:15 pm Pacific Time. We will keep you updated on both games on our Twitter account @LasordasLair
Tune into Prime Ticket at 1:10 pm for the first pitch, and be sure to check back here for our postgame coverage.