DENVER -- Dan Haren is coming off his best start of the season, looking to continue the Dodgers' great run of starting pitching on Saturday against the Rockies in a place that has been no friend to pitchers, Coors Field in Denver.
But the Dodgers have gotten two excellent starts to open their series in Denver, with Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw each lasting eight innings in wins, combining for 16 strikeouts and three walks. In five games at Coors Field this season, which includes four Dodgers victories, the Dodgers have only needed 7⅔ innings of relief, a remarkably low total in a ballpark that was wrought havoc on the best of pitching staffs through the years.
But it goes beyond just Coors Field. The Dodgers' starting staff have been on quite a run, and it has revolved around limiting walks to an absolute minimum. The team has gone 38 straight games without a starter walking more than two batters, the longest streak since 1900.
On the season Dodgers' starters have walked just 5.51 percent of batters faced, second only to the Yankees (5.46 percent).
Dodgers starters have 123 walks and 496 strikeouts, a 4.03 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Dating back to 1914, only one team has had a strikeout-to-walk ratio of at least 4.00 out of its starters: the 2011 Phillies, at 4.22.
Backing Haren on Saturday will be a lineup that does feature Hanley Ramirez, back in the starting lineup after getting hit by a pitch on the left hand and leaving Friday's game in the fifth inning as a precaution.
The lineup though is without Dee Gordon, getting a day off after starting 10 straight and 23 of the last 24 games; and without Scott Van Slyke, who sits for the first time against a left-handed starter all season. Van Slyke, who had started the Dodgers' first 22 games against southpaws in 2014, has hit home runs against right-handed pitchers in two of the last three games.
Andre Ethier gets the start in center field after a three-hit night on Friday, and at least one hit in each of his last six starts, hitting .417 (10-for-24) during that span with two doubles, two triples and a home run. He is 3-for-19 (.158) with a double and six strikeouts against Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa, while Van Slyke is 0-for-12 with a walk and four strikeouts.
Matt Kemp has destroyed De La Rosa in his career to the tune of 15-for-33 (.455) with three home runs, four doubles and a triple. Adrian Gonzalez is 14-for-38 (.368) with three home runs, three doubles and seven walks, and Hanley Ramirez is 10-for-25 (.400) with two home runs, four doubles and six walks.
De La Rosa is 3-10 with a 6.26 ERA in 19 career games against the Dodgers, including 15 starts.