The Dodgers get to leave Coors Field today so in a way they’ve already won.
I’m sure Colorado is a lovely state and Denver is a lovely city. I’ve been to Boulder and it was very cold but very nice. But in a baseball sense, Denver is my hell.
The Dodgers’ pitching has not fared well in the first two games of their series at Coors. On Tuesday, Brandon McCarthy allowed two earned runs (and one unearned) in three innings and needed 85 pitches to complete those three. On Wednesday, Brock Stewart gave up five runs in the first inning and gave up four more in the next three innings. We need to talk about how efficiently Stewart struggled, because he made a not-nice 69 pitches in four innings. That’s a decently normal rate (if you figure 15 pitches/inning is about average, that’s only nine extra pitches). For him to average just over 17 pitches/inning while giving up 10 hits and nine runs is nothing short of miraculous.
Meanwhile, the Dodger offense has not taken advantage of the altitude. They scored three runs in game one, all of which came in the final two innings. Justin Turner hit a two-run homer in the first inning of game two, The Dodgers had seven more baserunners after that, but a combination of TOOTBLAN’s, double plays and untimely hitting kept them off the board. Mother Nature tried to call the fight with some rain, but the Dodgers did not mount a comeback.
The Dodgers can avoid the sweep with a win today and send Kenta Maeda to brave the hot Rockies offense and the Coors Field air. The fourth start of Maeda’s career came at Coors, and despite relying on breaking pitches, Maeda cruised through six innings, allowing four baserunners and striking out eight in a 4-1 Dodger win. Maeda has allowed two runs in each of his last two starts and hasn’t thrown 100 or more pitches since June 30th. Maeda is pitching on five days rest for the 10th time this season, and has posted a 2.65 ERA in the previous nine.
Tyler Chatwood gets the ball for the Rockies. Chatwood had Tommy John in 2014 and missed all of last year, but has come back strong in 2016. In 19 starts, Chatwood owns a 3.50 ERA/4.22 FIP. He’s been absolutely lights out on the road, but has struggled at Coors with a 4.69 ERA in 10 home starts (1.30 ERA in nine road starts). Chatwood was on the losing end of Maeda’s previous start at Coors, but he shut the Dodgers down at Dodger Stadium, as he allowed one hit in eight innings.
Thankfully, Chatwood throws with his right hand, so it’s a relatively normal Dodger lineup today. This lineup didn’t do much on Tuesday, but you have to feel pretty good about a lineup that has Howie Kendrick hitting seventh. When everyone is playing to their career norms, this lineup is deep and powerful. It’s lefty-heavy, but against righties that shouldn’t be an issue.
The Giants just defeated the Phillies, so the Dodgers have to win to remain two back. For the Dodgers’ struggles, the Giants have had just as hard a time in Philly, and it’s really unfortunate that the Dodgers aren’t tied for first right now. There’s still plenty of time remaining and the Giants have played terrible ball lately, so it could be a race to the finish line.
First pitch is scheduled for 5:40 PST and will be shown on Sportsnet LA. Just get back to LA healthy.