After playing just two games, the Colorado Rockies
have had two days off.
Such is baseball in April. The Rockies, who were idle this past Sunday due to a postponement and off Monday, host the Los Angeles Dodgers Tuesday at 5:40 p.m. PT in the opener of a two-game series.
The unpredictable Denver weather should cooperate this time. The Rockies couldn’t get their Sunday game in against Arizona due to a mix of rain and snow. But the forecast in Denver for Tuesday is temperatures in the 60s, no rain and southwest winds at nine mph.
Unfortunately for the Rockies, they draw Clayton Kershaw. Even though he just turned 23, Kershaw is becoming one of the best pitchers in baseball.
The southpaw was brilliant this past Thursday in the Dodgers’ season opener, a 2-1 victory against San Francisco. Kershaw beat Tim Lincecum as a 115 home favorite by not giving up a run in seven innings while allowing just four singles, striking out nine and walking one. The combined three runs went ‘under’ the 6 ½-run total, the lowest ‘over/under’ of the season.
The Dodgers are 14-3 the past 17 times Kershaw has pitched against a National League West opponent.
Kershaw was 13-10 last season with a 2.91 ERA. His 212 strikeouts were the fifth-highest in the NL last year.
Many expect Kershaw to be even better this season. This game, though, should prove a strong early challenge coming at hitter-friendly Coors Field. Kershaw is 3-2 lifetime with a 5.59 ERA in seven starts at Coors.
Colorado is a very strong home team winning 37 of its last 55 games at Coors Field. The Rockies are 36-17 in their last 53 home contests when facing a left-handed starter.
The Rockies also have one of their good, young pitchers going against the Dodgers – 23-year-old Jhoulys Chacin.
The right-hander from Venezuela averaged 9.04 strikeouts per nine innings, the second highest-number by a Colorado pitcher with 100-plus innings in a season.
Chacin was 9-11with a 3.28 ERA last season. Despite pitching just 148 1/3 innings in his big league career, Chacin faced the Dodgers six times going 3-3.
Chacin last faced the Dodgers at home on Sept. 29 and lost 7-6 as a 185 favorite against Carlos Monasterios, giving up two earned runs in five innings on four hits with seven strikeouts and three walks. The combined 13 runs went ‘over’ the 9 ½-run total.
The previous time he faced the Dodgers, however, Chacin beat them, 12-2. That occurred on Sept. 18 at Dodger Stadium. Chacin pitched eight scoreless innings allowing nine hits with two strikeouts and no walks. Chacin was a 125 road favorite against John Ely. The combined 14 runs flew ‘over’ the 9 ½-run total.
Colorado is 1-1 on the season. The Dodgers are 3-1 following a four-game home series against the defending world champion Giants. Jonathan Broxton has a 6.00 ERA, but owns saves in each of the Dodgers’ three victories. Outfielder Matt Kemp is off to a fast start batting .417.
The Dodgers are one of the few clubs that have fared well at Coors winning in 11 of their last 15 visits. They have won four in a row in Denver.
The Dodgers won the season series from the Rockies last season going 11-7. They were 6-3 at Coors in 2010.
The ‘over’ has cashed eight of the last nine times the Rockies have gone against a left-hander at home. The ‘over’ also has cashed in 12 of Colorado’s last 17 NL West games.
However, the ‘under’ has paid off in 14 of Kershaw’s last 20 road starts. The Dodgers have gone ‘under’ in five of Kershaw’s past six outings.
In head-to-head competition between the Dodgers and Rockies, the ‘over’ has cashed six of the last seven times.