I am quite proud that my preseason thought has come true that the National League West in 2010 is a two-team race. However, those two teams were supposed to be the Dodgers and the Rockies. At the All-Star break, Los Angeles and Colorado were very much in the thick of things in the race for the playoffs:
The Dodgers and Rockies were tied for the wild card lead, primed to make their move on the division. Both made a move alright, but sadly it was a move backwards. The Dodgers are 11-20 since the break, while the Rockies are 12-17. Meanwhile, only the Twins (22-8) have a better record than the Padres (19-10) and Giants (20-11), and the two teams playing tonight at Dodger Stadium are left to play out the string.
Clayton Kershaw has faced and beaten the Rockies twice this season, pitching eight scoreless innings to out-duel Ubaldo Jimenez on May 9, and allowing two runs in five innings three weeks later in Colorado. Kershaw struck out nine Rockies in each game.
Kershaw's opponent on May 30 in Colorado was Jhoulys Chacin, who will face him again tonight. Chacin allowed no runs in 7 1/3 innings on May 8 (the Charlie Haeger no-out game), and in the loss to Kershaw he allowed four runs in 5 1/3 innings.
The Dodgers have won each of the last nine series with the Rockies, dating back to 2008. In each of the last five series, the clubs have split the first two games with the Dodgers taking the finale.
Looking at the Rockies' last 13 games, I sense a pattern:
Win, Loss, Win, Loss, Win, Loss, Win, Loss, Win, Loss, Win, Loss,Win
I think we know what's coming tonight.
Bob Timmermann wrote a wonderful article on LA Observed about the Dodgers and "the year of the crabbiness." This is merely a snippet, but such a great paragraph (hat tip to David Young for the tip):
[Larry] Bowa, who thought Jim Edmonds didn't try hard enough when he was on the Angels, and thought Scott Rolen didn't apply himself well enough when he was on the Phillies, has come across as one of the least happy and most unreasonable of any member of the Dodgers coaching staff since Leo Durocher worked under Walter Alston. Bowa's continued employment by the Dodgers (or by any team) is a tribute to the sport's time-honored tradition of hiring hard-ass coaches to do the dirty work of managers. It has been difficult to see what sort of tangible benefit the Dodgers get from employing Bowa. Aside from runners being told when to try to score from second on a single.
Get your guesses in for Xeifrank's game simulation here.
Game Time: 7:10 p.m.