M. Ellis 4
A.J. Ellis 2
The Dodgers completed the sweep against the lowly San Diego Padres on Sunday evening and improve to 81-55 on the season. The Giants knocked off the D-backs, so the Dodgers take a commanding 11 1/2 game lead in the N.L. West with 26 games remaining in the regular season. The Dodgers now embark on a road trip starting in Colorado in the deathly confines of Coors Field and then head off to Cincinnati for a three-game set. It doesn’t look like the Dodgers are going to be stopped this September, but they’ll have to deal with the Coors Field wall and the thin air in their final trip to Denver.
Clayton Kershaw will get the call for game one, and the Cy Young Award shoe-in is looking to capture a W after getting the hard
luck loss in his last start against the Cubs when he once again didn’t get enough run support from his teammates. Kersh went only 5 2/3 innings while allowing 2 runs on 7 hits with 9 strikeouts and 3 uncharacteristic walks. Kersh is 7-5 with a miniscule 1.56 at home this season. Against the Rockies, Kershaw is 8-5 with a 3.56 ERA in his career. He has pitched twice already in Coors Field this season, and currently holds a 1.69 in two starts one of which was a shutout. Kershaw is leading the Majors in ERA (1.72), WHIP (0.88), nd leads the league in strikeouts (197). With Matt Harvey succumbing to a partial tear in his elbow, Kershaw is unquestionably the frontrunner for the Cy Young. We never like to see a great pitcher like Harvey suffer such a devastating injury, but Kershaw most likely would have won the Cy Young regardless. He’ll win regardless of his W-L record as well. Kershaw might be able to win 16-17 games this season, and that is enough to garner first-place votes in my opinion.
Chad Bettis, a 24-year old rookie right-hander who debuted on August 1st, will counter Kershaw for his 7th career start. He’s never faced the Dodgers. The youngster has allowed 5 homeruns in his 6 starts for the Rockies, so the Dodgers should think long ball for this series. Bettis climbed through the Rockies minor league system in just three years, and he was promoted straight from AA-Tulsa this season to join a struggling Colorado rotation. Bettis has quite the repertoire, and the righty has six different pitches including three different fastballs. Bettis has been working on his delivery mechanics through his first Major League starts, and he has changed up his release point quite a few times. He allowed 4 runs on 9 hits 6 innings his last time out against the Giants in the loss.
Colorado is in third place in the N.L. West with a 65-73 record. They are 17 games behind the Dodgers. Even though they have an elimination number of just 9, the Rockies would love to play nuisance against the Dodgers.
As long as the Dodgers stay away from that dreaded Coors Field outfield wall, they should be fine.
Unfortunately the entire series will be telecast on KCAL. Scott and Lucas will be bringing you the recaps while the Dodgers are in Colorado. The Labor Day game begins at 1:10 p.m.