Dodgers Rockies Game One Preview

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Jun 26, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Bud Norris (20) sits in the dugout against the New York Mets during the seventh inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 26, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Bud Norris (20) sits in the dugout against the New York Mets during the seventh inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Dodgers return home to begin their final homestand until the All-Star break against a division foe.

The Giants won yesterday, so the Dodgers are still six back. Considering how insane the Giants were in May (21-8) and how badly the Dodgers have played/have been obliterated by injury, this isn’t the worst thing in the world.

The near future for the Dodgers is not fun, as Clayton Kershaw will miss an unknown amount of time with a mild herniated disc. No surgery is a good sign, but not having a timetable is always a little more scary. He’s eligible to return from the DL at the all-star break, but probably won’t be ready by then.

Enter the Dodgers’ newest starter, Bud Norris. Norris gets the start against the Rockies tonight and will become the tenth Dodger to start a game this season. Calling Norris an average starter for his career is putting it kindly- the lowest ERA he’s ever put up is 3.65 and his lowest FIP is his 3.85 FIP this year. He’s been durable, which is something the Dodgers could really use right now. However, he’s been used as a reliever more than a starter over the last year and a half. He comes with more than a little baggage, but the Dodgers need a handful of starts out of him.

In his last five starts as a Brave, Norris has actually been excellent. His worst start came against the Marlins two outings ago, when Norris gave up seven hits and two runs in 5.1 innings. That’s really not awful, and if he can give the Dodgers that for the next month until Brandon McCarthy/Hyun-jin Ryu return, the trade was worth it.

The Dodgers’ offense actually looked not-horrible on the road trip, as they scored 29 runs in the seven games. Not great, but it’s definitely an improvement. The Dodgers look to continue their newfound offense against Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa. De La Rosa had been the Rockies’ best starter for the last three seasons, but has been awful in 2016. Most of the struggles came early on, as De La Rosa had an 11.41 ERA in his first six starts this season (30 earned runs in 23.2 innings if my math is right). He, like Norris, was demoted to the bullpen and figured something out. After three long relief outings (eight innings, three hits, one run), De La Rosa got back in the rotation and has gone at least five innings in his last three starts and allowed more than one run only once.

A surprisingly normal lineup against lefties. Joc Pederson is sitting against a lefty, which isn’t much of a surprise. However, Will Venable was reported to be in the clubhouse, so Pederson very well could hit the DL in the near future*. He last appeared in a game on June 28th, so if he were to be DL’d, he would be out until the All-Star break.

*EDIT- Literally right after I clicked publish, the Dodgers announced the DL moves for Pederson and Kershaw. Venable and Norris take their spots on the 25-man, Layne Somsen was DFA’d for a spot on the 40-man.

Scott Van Slyke is notably absent against a lefty. VS. pitcher stats aren’t perfect, but SVS is 0-15 with five strikeouts in his career against De La Rosa. Chase Utley gets the start at second with Howie Kendrick in left.

First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PST and will be shown on Sportsnet LA.

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