The Dodgers have lost their last two series and four of their last five games and now face the daunting task of trying to chill the red hot Rockies. The Rox come to LA having won 20 of their last 23 games under new interim manager and former Dodgers manager Jim Tracy. The Rockies are 22-7 under Tracy's reign.
Here is the ESPN series preview. From the preview, "In the 46 games under Hurdle, Colorado hit .249 and had a 4.93 ERA. With Tracy, the Rockies are batting .283 and have a 3.76 ERA while seemingly gaining more confidence with each victory."
For some reason, Tracy seems to have gotten the Rockies to perform much better than they were able to under former manager Clint Hurdle. The Rockies problems this year against the Dodgers (.234 team batting average, 8.08 team ERA) will hopefully continue but the Rockies are playing like a completely different team since the last time these two teams met.
This is a critical series for the Dodgers. If they can quell the surging Rockies with a series win they might be able to coast to a division title. However, if the Dodgers were to get swept they would lead the Rockies by only 4.5 games, an uncomfortable amount especially given the large lead they had only several weeks ago.
The series will start with the Dodgers taking on Ubaldo Jimenez who, like the rest of the Rockies, has been terrible agaisnt the Dodgers. He has given up 18 runs in 3 starts against the Dodgers this year and 24 total runs in his other 12 starts.
The second game of the series pits Chad Billingsley against Jason Marquis. Marquis has been solid most of the year (4.37 FIP) but was battered around in his last start, allowing 8 runs in just 3.1 innings against the Angels.
And then in the series finale the Dodgers will be facing Jason Hammel. Hammel has been very effective this year (3.73 FIP), despite not having much name recognition. Clayton Kershaw has an impressive stretch of not allowing more than 3 runs in any of his last 8 starts, so it should be a good duel between the two pitchers.
Manny Ramirez has dropped to 7th among NL outfielders in All-Star voting, falling behind Brewers centerfielder Mike Cameron. Manny has basically no chance of being selected for the game. No Dodgers are leading the voting although Orlando Hudson is in second place.
This is the final series before Manny Ramirez's 50 game suspension is up and he will be able to rejoin the team. His first game should be July 3rd at Petco Park against the Padres.
Monday: Randy Wolf (3-3, 3.64 ERA) vs. Ubaldo Jimenez (6-7, 3.83 ERA)
Tuesday: Chad Billingsley (9-3, 3.10 ERA) vs Jason Marquis (9-5, 4.22 ERA)
Wednesday: Clayton Kershaw (5-5, 3.70 ERA) vs. Jason Hammel (5-3, 4.21 ERA)