Dodgers Travel to Colorado, While on their own Rocky Mountain High
By Scott Andes
Dodger Lineup vs. ColoradoGordon 6Ellis 4Kemp 8Ethier 9Loney 3Uribe 5Gwynn 7Ellis 2Harang 1
Aaron Harang -1-1 vs. Juan Nicasio-1-0
The Dodgers now have the best record in the National League after their amazing sweep of the Washington Nationals. They are now quite comfortable in first place. After playing the kiddies of Washington, they will now travel to begin a road trip against an old familiar foe. Colorado. As the sale of the Dodgers is scheduled to be finalized today, the Dodgers start a three game set and a six game road trip on Monday at Coors Field.
While the Dodgers have been playing well, Colorado has been struggling. They sit five games behind the Dodgers with a 10-11 record. They have dropped their last two games, and their pitching is in shambles. Their newest starter Jeremy Guthrie, acquired in the trade for Jason Hammel, has fallen to injury and placed on the disabled list. Help might be on the way though, as Jorge De La Rosa is getting to close to coming back. Yeah remember him?
The Dodgers will have Aaron Harang on the mound to begin the series. Harang has never pitched very well against Colorado. Harang is 4-4 with a 4.94 ERA. The Rockies are batting .291 against Harang, and three players have hit home runs off of him: Helton, Tulowitzki, and Cargo. With Mullet man hitting .294 off Harang. He has walked six Rockies and whiffed 19. Harang is 1-1 this season, and he has a 9.9 whiff per nine rate.
Colorado will counter with inconsistent right hander Juan Nicasio, who is 1-0 this year with a 4.76 ERA. In his last start he allowed just one run while scattering nine hits in a no-decision. He is coming off of a major neck surgery, so regardless, him even pitching again is something of a miracle after breakng his neck. Hat’s off to the youngster for working his way back to the bigs. In his limited work against the Dodgers he has struggled. The Dodgers are a combined 10 for 31, hitting .323 off Nicasio. Kemp and Ethier have both hit home runs.
Of course James Loney is a big Colorado lover, as he hits so well there. Loney is batting .337 in Colorado with nine home runs, 52 RBI, and a .966 OPS. Bison is batting .292 at Coors Field, with 19 home runs and a .911 OPS. If Colorado wants any chance of stopping the red hot Dodgers, they will have to pitch better. Recently Colorado allowed 48 hits in their last series with the Mets.
The Dodgers are supposed to have Juan Rivera back for this series. Rivera has been sidelined for the last several days with a strained hamstring, and had been reduced to pinch-hitting duties. Also returning to the Dodgers tomorrow will be reliever Todd Coffey, who is coming off the disabled list after recovering from an inflamed knee. It s expected for the Dodgers to option Nathan Eovaldi back down to the minors. Eovaldi never got into a game in his short stint with the club.
Manager Don Mattingly expressed concern about closer Javy Guerra‘s lack of confidence during his outing on Saturday. After Guerra was hit in the jaw by a Brain McCann line drive, he has been struggling. Kenley Jansen closed out the game on Sunday against Washington, but Donnie is staying with Guerra as closer despite many people believing Jansen to be the better candidate with his overpowering stuff.
Here is what Mattingly had to say about the bullpen situation.
"“We’re 21 games in. What happens if you make a change and it doesn’t work? Drop [Mike MacDougal] in there? [Josh] Lindblom? It’s a tryout camp at that point. I’m not panicking on any level with anybody. Dee [Gordon] is struggling. Do I hit the panic button? Am I worried? Yeah, but I’m not throwing the plans out the window. I understand the clamoring, what people say I should do. I don’t think it’s the right thing.”“I can’t say [the loss of swagger] had anything to do with being hit,” said Mattingly. “He was hit in the face, and if I had known, I should have pulled him out. But 10 days ago, he was rolling with a bunch of saves and you’re asking if we’re using him too much. I’ve got to keep thinking long term. This is temporary. We can’t worry about the clamoring.”"
I admit I am worried about Javy, but I am not ready to throw in the towel on him. I have been pretty frustrated with Javy and the bullpen lately, but I agree it is too early to just dump Javy from the closer role. I think if anything, Guerra needs a few days off. Both him and Jansen have been overworked with all these one-run games. Let’s see if we can get Javy back on track before we start tar and feathering him. Of course my frustration fueled tweets not withstanding. Fortunately the Dodgers have been winning, and I hope everything works out for Javy. I have noticed him missing high with many of his pitches. He has been cleared as healthy by the Dodgers medical staff, but he is going to need some help to get him back on track.
On a closing note about the Washington series and all of the hype surrounding the kids of Steven Strasburg, Bryce Harper, and Tyler Moore. I just want to say…..SUCK IT HYPE! Sweep city! Hey the kiddies are going to have to get used to this kind of heckling if they expect to last long in the majors, and you best believe that the next time I see a Dodgers/Nationals game at the ravine I am going to heckle those kids until I lose my voice. Oh and kudos to the Dodger Stadium pavilion scoundrels who were yelling “overrated” at Kid Hype all throughout the game. That is some top-notch heckling right there. Remember the kid hype groupie who ran onto the field? Crazy.
Game time is at 5:40 PM, with the game televised on KCAL. No matter how much in flux the Colorado roster is, the big three of Cargo, Mullet man, and Helton are always there to annoy us. Should be another fun game in the rarefied air. Check back in with us after the game for our postgame recap. Go Blue.