The Dodgers and Rockies will meet up this weekend at Dodger Stadium for arguably their most important series since 2009.
I guess I could have chosen the May 2010 series that saw Clayton Kershaw hang the "and one" on Ubaldo Jimenez ‘s 15-1 first half, but that Dodgers team finished under .500 and it was too early in the season.
These two teams have been part of a three-team race with the Diamondbacks, with all three teams winning at a breakneck pace all season. The Dodgers hold a 1½-game lead over both Arizona and Colorado, but both of them are on pace for 102 wins. The Dodgers — winners of seven straight, 13 of 14 and 21 of 27 — are on pace for 105.
The National League West hasn’t had three teams win 90 games in a season since 2002.
Only the Astros (50-24) have a better record than the three NL West juggernauts.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts last weekend stated his team’s case.
Dave Roberts on the wild, wild West: "We realize we’re the best team in the division."— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughTimes) June 17, 2017
Roberts added more context at roughly the 1:30 mark here:
Dave Roberts chats with @alannarizzo about #Dodgers starting pitchers attacking batters & the competitiveness of the NL West. pic.twitter.com/bPWvjoAxYN— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) June 17, 2017
But one way the Dodgers can create some separation in the NL West is to start winning in the division. They are 16-16 within the division, including just 4-5 against Colorado and 3-4 against Arizona.
The Dodgers haven’t faced a National League West team since May 17. Their last 33 games have been against foes in the NL Central, NL East, and AL Central, and the Dodgers came out of that gauntlet 25-8. That’s the best record in baseball during that span.
The second best? Arizona, with Colorado fourth, with Houston wedged in between. Of course.
The Dodgers’ familiarizing themselves again with the NL West starts this weekend at Dodger Stadium, where the Dodgers have beaten the Rockies in eight of their last nine meetings. The Dodgers have only lost one of their last nine home series against Colorado, winning 22 of their last 28 such games dating back to 2014.
But this is a different Rockies team, and one that split two games in Los Angeles back in April.
Colorado’s strength was supposed to be their offense, but really it has been just a three-headed monster of center fielder Charlie Blackmon, third baseman Nolan Arenado, and first baseman Mark Reynolds.
Those are the only three Rockies with above-average wRC+ (Raimel Tapia is at 100 wRC+ in his 49 plate appearances), but they have combined for 49 home runs, 54 doubles, and 171 RBI.
The real Rockies strength has been the pitching, with a formidable back end of the bullpen coupled with a young starting staff. Colorado has gotten 46 starts and 26 wins out of rookie starting pitchers, and this weekend the Dodgers will face two of them — Kyle Freeland on Friday, and German Marquez on Sunday.
The Dodgers shuffled their rotation to send their three best against Colorado, with Alex Wood, Clayton Kershaw, and Brandon McCarthy scheduled on the mound.
How big of a series is this? Just ask Dodgers announcer Joe Davis.
I was supposed to miss this whole weekend for a FOX game in Boston. Then the Rockies got good. And this series got big. And I got creative.— Joe Davis (@Joe_Davis) June 23, 2017
So, Dodgers tonight. Redeye to BOS. Sat. at Fenway. Early a.m. flight back Sun., to the park just in time for Dodgers at 1. Let's do this.— Joe Davis (@Joe_Davis) June 23, 2017
Should be fun.