Jun 23, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Zack Greinke (21) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Dodgers Look to Spark Some Fireworks Against Rockies

After sitting in the stands getting sunburned on Wednesday at Dodger Stadium, I wasn’t too pleased with watching  the defensive shortcomings of the Dodgers and the continued struggles of Brian Wilson in person. I had a great day with my daughter sitting in the Field Level watching Trevor Bauer warm-up before the game started, and we enjoyed watching Scott Van Slyke‘s homerun eclipse the Dodger bullpen later in the game, but it would have been nice to get the win. The Dodgers’ defensive issues have reared their ugly head recently once again, and Carlos Triunfel really botched some key plays in the series finale to Cleveland yesterday. Matt Kemp also made a bad throw to third base where no one was, and the Indians took advantage and secured the series win.

I can’t say that I expected much after I saw the lineup didn’t include Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez, or Yasiel Puig on Wednesday. My daughter was disappointed that Puig wasn’t starting in right field next to where we were sitting, and the reason Don Mattingly sat the superstar was because he “looked tired.” I understand that most of the team is banged up and limping into the All-Star Break, but just because it was a getaway day doesn’t mean you must pack up and check out of the game before the plane is even on the runway.

Zack Greinke (10-4, 2.78) vs. Franklin Morales (4-4, 5.75)

Lineup: 

Gordon 2B

Puig RF

Ramirez SS

Gonzalez 1B

Kemp LF

Van Slyke CF

Uribe 3B

Ellis C

Greinke P

Brian Wilson looked terrible again. He walked back-to-back batters in the eighth inning, and I knew it was over after that. Even though the defense helped turn the two walks into three runs, Wilson just hasn’t had a good year. He had been pitching a lot better in the past few weeks, but Wednesday’s blown game was a big setback for the Beard. The Dodgers’ relievers are going to have to find a way to hold leads in later innings if they want to usurp the once again first-place Giants.

The Dodgers are only 1/2 game back of the Giants, and they could really use the Rockies’ recent troubles to their advantage if they can tame their

Matt Kemp can't come up with the clutch hit in the bottom of the ninth with two outs on July 2, 2014. Photo: Stacie Wheeler

Matt Kemp can’t come up with the clutch hit in the bottom of the ninth with two outs on July 2, 2014. Photo: Stacie Wheeler

bats at their home field high up in the clouds. The Rockies are really stumbling of late, and they have currently lost three in a row and sit in fourth place in the NL West. The Dodgers have lost two in a row now, and hey look at that even San Diego can piece together a four-game winning streak. For some unexplained reason, the Dodgers just can’t string together more than three wins in a row this season. It’s a disconcerting pattern we have seen throughout the season. After three wins, it’s is almost like they give up. The “resting lineup” by Don Mattingly is penciled in, and the defense, offense, and relief pitching all hit the showers early.

Don Mattingly should have pinch-ran for Hanley Ramirez in the ninth on Wednesday afternoon.  I can’t argue that it was a mistake not to substitute Hanley’s hurt calf for a fresh pair of legs who could have scored on the Andre Ethier clutch double. Then again, Mattingly wasn’t the one to walk two batters in the eighth nor he was the one who made the awful throw from Kemp nor did he make the defensive blunders that emanated from Triunfel’s glove. While blame can be thrown around, it really was a team loss on Wednesday. A loss I’d like to forget.

Zack Greinke looked much better in his last start against St. Louis at home where he only allowed 1 run on 4 hits with 10 strikeouts over 7 innings for the win. It was a nice bounce back start after the disastrous loss in Kansas City where he allowed 5 runs on 11 hits. Greinke is actually 1-0 in 5 games (4 starts) at Coors Field in his career, but he does have a 4.38 ERA with 2 homeruns allowed in that sample size. Overall against the Rockies, the right-hander is 4-2 with a 3.95 ERA in 12 games (11 starts). Drew Stubbs is hitting .429 against Greinke with 9 hits in 22 plate appearances, and of course he’ll have to be wary of Troy Tulowitzki who is still leading the NL with a .351 batting average.

The Rockies will counter Greinke with lefty Franklin Morales who is slotted back into the rotation after Jhoulys Chacin continues to have shoulder problems. He hasn’t made a start since May 31st, and he has been pitching out of the Colorado bullpen since then. He actually picked up a win against the Dodgers on June 7th after pitching 1 1/3 innings in relief. He is 2-1 against the Dodgers with a career ERA of 5.06 in 12 games (2 starts) against Los Angeles.

Prediction: Yasiel Puig flips his bat.

Even with the loss to Cleveland, the Dodgers have still won 11 of their last 16 games.

The Dodgers will most likely place Hanley Ramirez on the disabled list on Thursday. Hanley would be eligible to return on the first game after the All-Star break against St. Louis. Hanley has been battling numerous injuries this year including a recent calf strain that makes it difficult for the shortstop to run. *Update* Hanley Ramirez is back in the lineup for Thursday’s game.

Can the Dodgers overtake the Giants again and move back into first place? The Giants will continue their series with St. Louis with Madison Bumgarner on the hill.

Anything can happen in the thin air of Coors Field, but I’m hoping for some Puig bat flips and Greinke strikeouts.

Go Blue!

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Tags: Franklin Morales Los Angeles Dodgers Zack Greinke

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