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The widening gap between the Dodgers and Rockies

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A pair of teams going in different directions meet on opening day

Colorado Rockies v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images

It was only 30 months ago that the Dodgers and Rockies were tied atop the National League West, with Colorado reaching the postseason in consecutive years for the first time. But since then the two franchises have sped in opposite directions.

But for now, they are tied once again, this time at 0-0 in the first opening day matchup between the two teams.

A pair of fourth-place finishes the last two years doesn’t fully capture how disappointing the Rockies have been. Perhaps it’s the Rockies requiring more than a handful of front office members also act as clubhouse attendants in cost-cutting measures last year, as reported by Nick Groke and Ken Rosenthal at The Athletic in March.

2021 MLB projections

Projection Dodgers Rockies
Projection Dodgers Rockies
PECOTA 104-58 61-101
FanGraphs 100-62 65-97
ZiPS 99-63 63-99
538 103-59 65-97
Joe Sheehan 113-49 72-90

Or maybe the gap in the two franchise can be seen in some accounting. The Dodgers added to an already full starting rotation by paying at least $38 million this year for Trevor Bauer, while Colorado is paying $35 million in 2021 salary for Nolan Arenado — one of the best players in Rockies history — to play for the Cardinals.

The Dodgers have won 27 of their last 34 games against the Rockies, dating back to the final month of the 2018 season, when Los Angeles overtook Colorado down the stretch, on their way to a World Series berth.

At Coors Field, the Dodgers haven’t lost a series since August 10-12, 2018. Since then the Dodgers are 12-5 in Denver, winning four series and splitting another. Since that August home sweep by Colorado in 2018, here are the two teams’ regular season records:

Dodgers: 177-89 (.665)
Rockies: 125-142 (.468)

Then again, the Rockies did win two of three games at Dodger Stadium last September 4-6, the only series all year lost by the Dodgers in either the regular season or postseason. So they have that going for them.

Notes

Clayton Kershaw is 5-1 with a 1.05 ERA in his eight opening day starts, with 59 strikeouts and eight walks in 51⅔ innings. His nine opening day starts are the most in Dodgers history by a pitcher, and the only active pitchers in MLB with more are Justin Verlander (12 starts) and Felix Hernandez (11).

The Dodgers have won nine of their last 10 opening days. Since moving to Los Angeles in 1958, the Dodgers are 35-28 on opening day, including 15-16 on the road.

Thursday is the first time in five years that the Dodgers have opened on the road. Their last away season starter was a 15-0 win over the Padres in San Diego on April 4, 2016.

Jordan Sheffield, who was selected from the Dodgers in December’s Rule 5 Draft, made the Rockies bullpen, one of 14 pitchers on Colorado’s opening day roster. Fellow Rule 5 pick Brett de Geus made the Rangers roster.

Opening day game info

  • Teams: Dodgers at Rockies
  • Location: Coors Field
  • Time: 1:10 p.m. PT
  • Local TV: SportsNet LA (Joe Davis, Orel Hershiser, Kirsten Watson)
  • National TV: ESPN (Dave Flemming, Jessica Mendoza)
  • Streaming: Watch ESPN