Lineup:Gordon 2B Puig RF Hanley SS Gonzalez 1B Kemp CF Crawford LF Uribe 3B FedEx C Beckett P
The Dodgers wrap up the long homestand by hosting the Colorado Rockies for a three-game series over the weekend. This is the first meeting between the two clubs this season, and the Rockies have been a surprise in the league so far with their offensive fireworks. The Dodgers, on the other hand, are hurting offensively, defensively, and the bullpen woes aren’t helping either. The Dodgers, whose offense isn’t outweighing the defensive shortcomings, will need to keep pace with the hot hitting Rockies who lead the Majors with a team batting average of .301 and are second among all MLB teams with 29 homeruns.
The Dodgers will need to use Dodger Stadium to their advantage in order to squelch the bats of Colorado, and Josh Beckett will need to go deeper into the game in order to relieve the relievers so to speak. Thursday night’s ninth inning debacle gave us much anguish as well as some concern about Brian Wilson who served up 4 runs in yet another disappointing outing this season. Don Mattingly didn’t seem concerned about Wilson’s health during his postgame conference, but Wilson has already spent one stint on the disabled list this season with elbow issues. Whether it is his elbow or not, the Dodgers will need to figure out what to do without overusing Kenley Jansen in the later innings. Perhaps Mattingly will need to go to Chris Withrow in the eighth inning or even Jose Dominguez in the meantime while Wilson finds his groove again.
Josh Beckett is still looking for his first win since 2012. Beckett has not allowed a run in his last two starts against San Francisco and Arizona going 5 innings in each outing. Last time out Beckett was cruising along, but he was fatigued early due to a bout with the flu which has been going around the dugout. Beckett has really proven so far that he has recovered from thoracic outlet syndrome, and his contributions to the rotation have been welcomed with the disability of Clayton Kershaw this April. Beckett has struck out 16 batters in 14 innings pitched, and while he isn’t as dominate as he once was when he was a World Series M.V.P., the Dodgers will take this Beckett any day. Against the Rockies, Beckett is 5-3 with a 4.10 ERA in 9 career starts. The only current Rockie who has a homerun against Beckett is Justin Morneau, but the right-hander will of course have to deal with the usual culprits like CarGo and Tulo and new threats like Blackmon.
The Rockies will send big right-hander Jordan Lyles to the mound. The Rockies acquired Lyles from the Astros
last December with Brandon Barnes in exchange for Dexter Fowler and a player to be named later. Lyles is 3-0 so far on the season, and he beat the Phillies the last time out. He allowed 1 run on 5 hits over 7 frames. He has only made one start against the Dodgers in his career, and he lost. He allowed 7 runs on 7 hits with 3 homeruns over 5 1/3 innings back in August of 2011 when he was pitching for the Astros. Matt Kemp, Dioner Navarro, and Justin Sellers all went deep against Lyles in the game at Dodger Stadium. Hanley Ramirez also has a homerun against Lyles when he was with Miami.
Last season, the Rockies won the season series against the Dodgers 10-9 and were 6-4 at Dodger Stadium. Justin Morneau and Charlie Blackmon lead the Rockies with 5 homeruns apiece, and Nolan Arenado is bringing a 14-game hitting streak into tonight’s game.
Prediction: Hanley is heating up, and he hits another big homerun.
Tune into SportsNet LA (if you can) or ROOT Sports in Colorado for the 7:10 p.m. PT game. Come back here for all the highlights (and lowlights) after the conclusion of the game.