The Dodgers head into Colorado trying to keep a rather magnificent streak alive. They have won their last 10 series against Colorado, winning 23 of their last 31 encounters overall. Last year, the Dodgers won 14 out of 18, and there was a pattern to the games: the two teams were relatively close for the first six innings (the Dodgers outscored the Rockies 58-47), but the Dodgers found separation in the final frames, outscoring Colorado 47 to 16, including a remarkable 28-5 in the seventh inning alone.
This year, both teams have been close to one another pretty much all game. The Rockies have actually outscored the Dodgers this season 34-30, but the Dodgers have won six of nine games. Since Jim Tracy took over as manager of the Rockies, the Dodgers and Rockies have split the first two games of all six series, with the Dodgers taking the series finale every single time.
Tonight's series opener features a supreme pitching matchup, with Clayton Kershaw and Ubaldo Jimenez squaring off for the second time this season. Back on May 9, Kershaw pitched eight scoreless innings to defeat Ubaldo and the Rockies 2-0. It was the only time the Rockies lost a start by Jimenez in the first three months of the season. Both starters allowed two hits on that day, and even though today's game is in Colorado runs figure to be at a premium again.
Through his first 14 starts, Ubaldo was 13-1 with a 1.15 ERA and looked simply inhuman. Since then, in 11 starts, Jimenez is 4-3 with a 4.90 ERA. However, in reality he hasn't really been that different a pitcher, but has seen both ends of the "luck" spectrum:
Hopefully he doesn't get it tonight, but whenever Jimenez gets his next victory this season, he will set a Rockies' record for wins in a season, breaking his current tie with Jeff Francis, Kevin Ritz, and Old Friend Pedro Astacio.
Kershaw is 3-0 against the Rockies this season, allowing a total of two runs in 20 innings. He has allowed no runs in four of his last six starts against the Rockies. The only Dodger pitcher to ever get more than three wins in a season against the Rockies was Brad Penny, who was 5-0 against Colorado in 2006.
- Yesterday's home run by Casey Blake was his first to the right of center field this season.
- Matt Swartz of Baseball Prospectus wrote extensively on the value of defensive shifts, and the relative value of lefties versus righties in clutch situations.
- Tom Tango, co-author of "The Book: Playing the Percentages in Baseball," has started his 2010 scouting reports, "by the fans, for the fans." Be sure to share your input about the Dodgers here. (Thanks to Xeifrank for the reminder, and Jon Weisman for the second reminder!)
Game Time: 6:10 p.m.
TV: Prime Ticket