Rockies: Down With a Case of the Blues -- Dodger Blues
As if the season has not become a big enough challenge for the Rockies, now they get a four-game visit from the Los Angeles Dodgers.
You know, the only team that already has clinched a slot in the MLB post-season and could even clinch the best record in the NL by weekend's end.
Oh, those Dodgers.
Exactly, the team that not only has the best all-time record against the Rockies, but also has the best record at Coors Field of any team in baseball.
This isn't a house call the Rockies really need right now. Oh, they are ailing. After opening the season 11-3, they head into the final 12 games of the season having lost 23 of their last 34.
How big a challenge are the next four games for the Rockies?
-- The Dodgers are headed to the post-season for the eighth consecutive season, the third longest such streak in MLB history. The Braves made a record 14 consecutive post-season appearances 1991-2005, and the Yankees ran off 13 in a row 1995-2007.
-- The Dodgers free-agent splurge last winter was signing Mookie Betts, who in four games against the Rockies this season has a .500 average with three home runs, six RBI and seven runs scored.
-- The juggled schedule this year has the Dodgers making their only appearance of 2020 at Coors Field this weekend, but in the last two years they have scored 10 or more runs in seven of 20 games in Denver. That is tops in the majors, one more game than the Yankees at Baltimore.
It's worth noting. ...
-- The Rockies will start left-hander Kyle Freeland in Game 1, and the Dodgers will start left-hander Julio Urias. Big deal? Well, the Dodgers and the Rockies are both 10-4 when a left-hander has started against them this year, tied with the Washington Nationals for the best record in the NL in games lefties start against them. In the AL, the White Sox are 13-0 and the A's are 9-1.
-- Urias and Freeland are similar -- except in terms of run support. Urias has a 3.53 ERA, Freeland, 3.54. Urias and Freeland have both struck out 38 batters and walked 16 batters. There is, however, one major difference -- the Dodgers average 9.55 runs support for Urias, and the Rockies average 3.86 runs when Freeland is on the mound.
What kind of season has it been for the Rockies?
Well, they are 11-15 at Coors Field with four games to play. They, meanwhile, are 11-11 on the road with an eight-game road trip to finish the season next week, playing four games each at San Francisco and Arizona.
Big deal? Well, the Rockies have had a better record at home than on the road in each of the last 25 years. Since 1901, the 1934-59 Washington Senators are the only team with a streak that long, and that was just by one game.
And for good measure. ...
-- The Dodgers are the fourth team in the last 15 years to win 35 of its first 50 games in a season. The other three? The Cubs when they won the World Series in 2016; the Red Sox when they won the World Series in 2007, and the Tigers, when they lost the World Series in 2006.
It is worth noting that while the Dodgers haven't won a World Series since 1988, although they have advanced to the post-season 13 times since then, twice losing in the World Series.
-- The Rockies did take two out of three at Dodger Stadium Sept. 4-6. It's the only series the Dodgers have lost this year. They are 12-1-4 in series heading into the weekend.
-- Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon's .307 average in 131 games against the Dodgers is the best among active hitters with at least 150 plate appearances, but is 6-for-24 with two extra-base hits this season after going 24-for-60 with 11 extra base hits against the Dodgers a year ago.
-- Freeland is coming off back-to-back starts in which he worked six innings each time, allowing two earned runs total. He has eight quality starts, one shy of the MLB lead.