The biggest news prior to today's Dodgers game in Colorado is the demotion of Shane Victorino from the leadoff position in the batting order, at least for today, in favor of Mark Ellis. The Flyin' Hawaiian has hit leadoff in every game he's played as a Dodger before today, but has posted a below-league average .314 OBP for Los Angeles, and is hitting .222 / .282 / .306 since the Dodgers arrived in Atlanta, over his last nine games.
Chris Capuano takes the mound tonight looking to rebound from one of his less effective starts last Wednesday versus the Giants, when he was tagged for six earned runs in five innings pitched. The lefthander has been a steady force in the middle of the rotation for the Dodgers, averaging almost 6 1/3 innings per start, and his 3.15 strikeout-to-walk ratio is third on the Dodger staff trailing only Clayton Kershaw (4.16) and Kenley Jansen (4.53). Watch his pitch count carefully as he has been allowed to exceed 105 pitches only twice this season, but has averaged an efficient 93 pitches per start.
Here's a strange stat: the number three spot in the order (obviously usually populated with fine hitters) is batting .403 / .481 / .582 / 1.063 against Capuano this season, with the next highest OPS down at .766. Overall, batters are hitting .242 / .297 / .373 / .670 versus the Dodgers portsider. While the RH/LH split in OBP for Capuano is nearly equal, he has much suppressed left-handed power against him, allowing only a .266 slugging percentage against him - that's two double and one homer in 140 PA.
Capuano is 1-2 in three starts with a 3.26 ERA when facing Colorado this season. In his one start in Denver, Capuano was tagged for a season-high seven runs allowed (although only four were earned) in 5 1/3 innings. Matt Treanor has caught 16 of Capuano's 26 starts.
Tyler Chatwood, the former 2nd round pick for the Anaheim Angels who was traded for catcher Chris Iaenetta, and graduate of Redlands East Valley High School, climbs the hill for Colorado. Since being added to the rotation in early August, Chatwood has last 3 1/3, 5, 6, 4, and 3 innings in his five starts, while throwing no more than 76 pitches, as dictated by the four man rotation scheme employed by the Rockies this season. The 22-year old righthander will be facing the Dodgers for the first time this season, however several current Dodgers faced him during his rookie season with the Angels last year (stats from baseball-reference.com):
- Jerry Hairston Jr. has his surgery scheduled for September 7 to "repair an impingement and torn labrum in his left hip" per Ken Gurnick at mlb.com.
- Dylan Hernandez reports at the LA Times that Clayton Kershaw is "open to talks" regarding a contract extension. He is signed through next season.
- Gurnick also reported at mlb.com that Shawn Tolleson was optioned to Rancho Cucumonga rather than, say, Albuquerque, because he would be eligible to return as soon as the Quakes season ends on September 3, rather than have to wait the normal ten days to return.
- Dexter Fowler has not started for the Rockies since rolling an ankle in their game Wednesday, although he has pinch-hit twice.
Game Time: 5:40 p.m.