Rockies @ Dodgers September 7, 2017: Kershaw in familiar role as stopper

(Via)

In case you somehow haven’t heard, the Dodgers (92-47) have lost six games in a row, and 10 of their last 11. The Rockies (74-65) have been playing slightly better, but not much — they’ve lost nine of their last 15 games. Since the Dodgers last saw (and swept) them in June, the Rockies have gone 27-34.

If the Dodgers’ situation seems to be getting desperate, the Rockies are a reminder of what true desperation looks like. After their recent struggles, Colorado is currently holding onto the second Wild Card spot by a two-game margin. Indeed, tonight will be a showcase of two teams who are frustrated, for very different reasons.

Rockies
Dodgers
7:10 PM PT
Los Angeles
CF
Blackmon
SS
Taylor
2B
LeMahieu
LF
Granderson
3B
Arenado
1B
Bellinger
1B
Reynolds
C
Grandal
LF
Parra
RF
Puig
LF
Story
CF
Pederson
RF
González 3B Forsythe
C
Lucroy
2B
Utley
P
Gray (R)
P
Kershaw (L)

Clayton Kershaw (1.95 ERA, 2.83 FIP, 2.58 DRA) was marvelous in his return from the disabled list last Friday, delivering six shutout innings against the Padres on just 70 pitches, an inning beyond and five pitches under his projected limit. He struck out seven batters and walked none, and the two hits he allowed were infield grounders. It was a most encouraging performance, one that helped put an end to a five-game losing streak. Per Bill Plunkett, the Dodgers are 24-8 the past three seasons when Kershaw starts a game following a loss.

Kershaw has already faced the Rockies four times this year. The Dodgers have won three of those games and lost one. Eric Stephen notes that the loss was the only one in Kershaw’s last 15 starts against Colorado. Those notes should be some cause for optimism, although the concern likely won’t be Kershaw as much as whether the offense can back him up.

Jon Gray (4.26 ERA, 3.47 FIP, 3.88 DRA) has faced the Dodgers once this year, in April, when he allowed just one run in 5.1 IP in a game the Rockies won, 4-2. Just one start later, he went on the disabled list with, basically, a broken foot. Gray made his return in late June, and while July was not kind to him, he settled down nicely in August. In his past six starts, Gray has a 2.72 ERA across 36.1 IP, with 33 strikeouts versus 11 walks and a .668 OPS allowed.

What’s interesting about Gray is that he’s pitched much better at home than on the road the past two years. This year, he has a 3.34 ERA at Coors Field, and opponents have OPS’d just .685 against him. On the road, he has a 4.96 ERA, and opponents have an OPS of .819 against him.

Looking to tonight’s Dodger lineup, Justin Turner, who was ejected last night, is not starting. The two are not related, presumably.

——

A bit of good news on the bullpen front:

As reported previously, we can indeed expect to see Corey Seager tomorrow (although not Chris Taylor):

We will not, however, be seeing Adrián González any time soon:

A look ahead at the starting rotation:

Finally, something worth noting — a number of things would have to go right for this to happen, but it is possible the Dodgers could clinch a playoff berth tonight:

About Sarah Wexler

Sarah Wexler
Sarah Wexler is a native Angeleno and longtime Dodger fan. She began blogging about baseball in 2012 on her Tumblr, New Grass On The Field, where she covered an array of topics but especially enjoyed exploring baseball history. She now writes for The Hardball Times and FanGraphs. She recently earned her master's degree in Sports Management from Cal State Long Beach. She graduated from New York University in 2014 with a bachelor's in History and a minor in American Studies. She's an avid Springsteen fan, which is a big boost to her baseball writer cred.