September 28, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Zack Greinke (21) pitches the first inning against the Colorado Rockies at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
The Colorado Rockies continue their six-game west coast road trip Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in Los Angeles against the Dodgers.
Let’s meet the Dodgers and figure out if the Rockies are for real on the road.
DATES, TIMES, AND PITCHERS
Friday, April 17, 8:10 pm
Kyle Kendrick (1-1, 6.00) vs. Clayton Kershaw (0-1, 5.84)
Saturday, April 18, 7:10 pm
Jordan Lyles (1-0, 2.25) vs. Zack Greinke (1-0, 0.69)
Sunday, April 19, 2:10 pm
Eddie Butler (1-0, 1.64) vs. Brandon McCarthy (1-0, 6.75)
KEYS FOR THE ROCKIES
More from Colorado Rockies News
- A Colorado Rockies Thanksgiving
- Colorado Rockies: Charlie Blackmon out for the season
- Colorado Rockies: Injuries shift look of roster ahead of Dodgers series
- Colorado Rockies: 3 things we appreciated from Tuesday in San Francisco
- What Bill Schmidt’s comments mean for the Colorado Rockies in 2023
Win on the road, and win in the division.
What I wrote about the Rockies going to San Francisco earlier this week holds true in Los Angeles, too.
If the Rockies are going to be taken seriously in the division, they have to, um, win in the division.
And if they want to be taken seriously as a potential playoff team at any point in the future, well, you’ve got to do not horribly on the road. San Francisco, and now Los Angeles, provide good tests for the Rockies to see if they are a contender or a pretender early on here in April. Don’t bank on them or write them off just on the results of this series, alone, of course, but it’ll be a sign of things to come.
Keep bending and not breaking in the rotation.
Eddie Butler’s shaky – but effective – 5.1 scoreless innings in San Francisco Monday afternoon, along with a lights-out bullpen that followed, will be key for the Rockies all year, especially on the road. They just don’t have much room for error on the mound, so the starters need to keep the team in games early if they are to have any shot at relevance by August and September.
Yeah, as in, zero hits. Because that’s what Clayton Kershaw did to the club last year. I don’t think we can envision another no-hitter since the chances are… small… but the Rockies need to show that they can hit on the road, especially as they adjust to the altitude changes after home games in Denver.
Plus, just like I mentioned above, if the Rockies are serious about one day contending for the division, they must play with – and beat – the best pitchers in the division, since those guys are the ones the club will see in the playoffs.
LET’S MEET THE DODGERS
Special thanks to Scott Andes over at Lasorda’s Lair (@LasordasLair) for taking the time to answer some of our questions about the Dodgers as we get ready to meet the boys in blue for the first time this summer.
The way the rotation stacks up now, it looks like the Rockies could get Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke on April 17 and 18. Rockies fans remember Kershaw’s no-hitter in Dodger Stadium; what should we know about him (and Greinke) coming into this year, though?
Well, Kershaw has gotten off to a poor start this year. He was kind of shaky on Opening Day. His last start was a disaster in Arizona. He was hit in the face with a line drive in spring training, and he had to have a root canal and some dental work done because it knocked a couple of his teeth loose. Otherwise I don’t know what else would be wrong with him. I’m not really worried about Kershaw, though. Greinke seems to be fine.
Let’s talk about the rest of that rotation. With Hyun-jin Ryu banged up and the fragile Brandon McCarthy and Brett Anderson slotted into the fourth and fifth spots, are you concerned about depth? Erik Bedard, Scott Baker, Freddy Garcia and Chad Gaudin don’t strike as much fear into the hearts of opposing lineups as, say, Kershaw-Greinke-Ryu.
Yes, of course, I am concerned about depth. How could I not be? We don’t know exactly when Ryu is coming back. He could be out for a couple more weeks. The depth pieces are less than desirable. Scott Baker seems to be the frontrunner for the April 14th start. After the obligatory ten day waiting period, Joe Weiland and/or Carlos Frias could be called-up. Gaudin and Bedard are both injured at the moment. The club also signed Brandon Beachy, and he might be ready to return around midseason. The brain trust may have to go out and acquire somebody else, if Ryu is going to be out longer than expected.
The Dodgers’ bullpen is a bit of a concern, too, I’d imagine; what’s the pecking order down there with Kenley Jansen out? Do you have faith in guys like Joel Peralta and Chris Hatcher to slam the door, or is more bullpen help coming soon for the club?
There is no pecking order at the moment, and I have very little confidence in the current bullpen. But, that could change at any time. Until somebody steps up, there is no set in stone closer. Mattingly will just mix and match and go with match-ups, and likely just rotate a few guys. He used Hatcher in two games, and Peralta closed one more so far. Anybody could be called on depending on the situation. The team just traded for right hander Ryan Webb, but we still don’t know if he’s going to join the club or not [Editor’s note: he won’t]. I would expect more help to come at some point in the near future.
Adrian Gonzalez started the season white-hot at the plate. Is he going to single-handedly out-hit the Rockies (and everybody else) all year, or was that just a one-series kinda deal? Serious question though – is he an MVP candidate this season?
Lolz, yeah Gonzo has certainly put on a hitting clinic so far this year. Funny thing is, he did something similar in the beginning of last year too. He didn’t hit 5 home runs in the first three games, but he did get off to a real hot start the first few weeks of the season, before coming down to earth later. Gonzalez is a very solid hitter, and could be an MVP candidate every year. He led the league in RBI last year and hit 27 home runs. He’s definitely proven that he is the heart and soul of the Dodger lineup, and the club would be lost without him.
How about another MVP candidate: Yasiel Puig. How has he grown as a player now entering his third season, and what can we expect of him this series, and this summer?
Puig is a very talented young player – he just hit his first home run of the season as I write this – but he has his issues. One is that he’s over aggressive. He’s been working on his plate discipline, but he gets too aggressive and starts swinging at everything. He’s gotten off to a very poor start because of it, at 2 for 17, and he’s struck out in almost half of his at-bats. When he calms down and is able to harness his talent, he plays better. Unfortunately his over-aggressiveness is what hurts him. Mattingly and the coaches have been working with him on polishing his game, and harnessing his aggressiveness properly.
Joc Pederson has the talent to win rookie of the year, but he did nothing in a very abbreviated call-up last season, and he strikes out a lot. Which Joc Pederson will show up this summer?
We don’t know, but the kid had a terrific spring. He looked amazing on both sides of the ball. The Dodgers already know he can play center field. The question was his offense, because he struck out too much. If he can make consistent enough contact, then he’ll do some damage. But lord help us if he turns into Jerry Sands. I have high hopes for Joc.
Jimmy Rollins and Howie Kendrick probably represent overall upgrades at SS and 2B from Hanley Ramirez and Dee Gordon; with those two, and in spite of some questionable pitching depth, will the Dodgers win the World Series this year?
Oh I don’t know. You can’t ask me that! Well you can, and you certainly will, but I can’t really give you an answer. I thought they were going to win the World Series for sure in 2013, and they didn’t. Everyone thought they would in 2014 as well, and they fell short. Anything and everything can happen in a baseball season, and it’s very hard to predict what’s really going to happen. I will say this, the Dodgers have never made the postseason in three consecutive years in franchise history. The odds are against them. I do believe that this club will at least win 90 games, and be a playoff club. I would think they will win the division again. The World Series? Not so sure.
Are you feeling the heat from San Diego’s flurry of acquisitions this winter, or are the Dodgers still the team to beat in the NL West?
I still think the Dodgers are the team to beat when they are healthy and operating on full cylinders. San Diego is definitely going to be more annoying than usual. Overall, though, the Dodgers are still the better club. Although I will admit the Padres will be an improved club.
Last question, and most important: how much do you guys hate the Giants and Diamondbacks? Screw those guys, amirite?!
I absolutely loathe the Giants in every conceivable way possible. I can only hope the Giant’s future is filled with failures and frustration for a change. My only wish is that Giants fans are very unhappy. I wish for an unhappiness level where they are almost too depressed to go to work. The Snakes, though, are a joke, and their ball park resembles an airplane terminal hangar.