As the season heads into the final two weeks, the Dodgers and Rockies open a three-game series at Dodger Stadium Monday to start the final regular season meeting between the two clubs.
After 150 games (149 for Colorado), the teams are separated by a half-game in the standings, setting up for what could be a wild ride.
Spending most of the season in first place, the Diamondbacks have fallen 4.5-games off the pace in the NL West, clearing the way for the Rockies and Dodgers. Neither of the latter has led the division by more than 1.5-games this year, making for a stressful race.
It was just over a week ago when Los Angeles took two of three from Colorado at Coors Field. After dropping the next two games to the Reds, the Dodgers rebounded by taking four of the next five games, including three of four from the Cardinals over the weekend.
Since getting swept by the Cardinals in August, the Dodgers have now won eight of the last 11 against teams they are directly competing with for postseason play. Depending on the status of Arizona’s collapse, these next three days will likely be the final time the Dodgers control their own destiny by beating a potential playoff team ahead of them.
The Dodgers will play a three-game series with each of the four other NL West teams to finish their schedule, while the Rockies go outside the division for the final seven. After playing the Dodgers and Dbacks this week, they go four with the Phillies (technically still alive but not realistically) and three with the Nationals (winners in seven of the last nine) next week.
One random note about the Dodgers and series openers: They are 10-7 in the opening game since the All-Star Break, but have lost the last five Monday games. That includes four of five at home with three coming off a road trip.
The Dodgers have just six games left at home in the regular season as they push for the postseason. Make sure you pick up some tickets from our friends at StubHub to be part of the action.
Monday, 7:10 p.m. PT (SportsNet LA)
Five of the six starting pitchers in this series also started the most recent three-game set in Denver. Hyun-jin Ryu makes his first start against Colorado this season after facing them four times last year. The lefty has allowed 15 runs (10 earned) in 33 2⁄3 innings pitched since coming off the DL on August 15, striking out 37 against only three walks in that time.
Jon Gray gets his third shot at the Dodgers in just over a month when he toes the rubber Monday. The right-hander has allowed two or less earned runs in seven of his 11 starts since returning to the Rockies’ roster July 14. In his two previous starts, Gray has issued six runs and six walks in 9 2⁄3 innings.
Tuesday, 7:10 p.m. PT (SportsNet LA, MLB Network*)
Clayton Kershaw is running out of time to lower his career ERA for the 10th consecutive season. Coming into 2018, the lefty had a 2.36 and currently sits at 2.51 with possibly three starts to go. Kershaw allowed two runs over six innings in a 4-2 Dodgers win at Coors on September 7.
As hard as it is to believe, Kyle Freeland has a 2.96 ERA for the Rockies this season. Pitching is hard to do at Coors and the lefty has made it look normal. In three starts against the Dodgers this season, the lefty has allowed just six runs in 19 1⁄3 innings. Interestingly enough, half of those runs came at Dodger Stadium in May.
Wednesday, 7:10 p.m. PT (SportsNet LA, ESPN)
Tyler Anderson makes his fifth start against Los Angeles in 2018 Wednesday against Walker Buehler. Anderson struggled his last time out against the Dodgers, lasting just 2 2⁄3 while giving up four runs (three earned).
Buehler is coming off his most dominate performances of the year when the Dodgers really needed it. The young right-hander snapped off eight shutout innings in a 3-0 win over the Cardinals Friday.
* out-of-market only