Dodgers @ Rockies September 30, 2017: Happy abbreviated #KershDay

Photo: Daniel Brim

The Rockies (87-73) had a lot more riding on the series opener against the Dodgers (102-58) on Friday evening in Denver, and it showed. The 9-1 drubbing was difficult to watch, but L.A. has had their minds on the NLDS for awhile now, as evident from their placid offense and uninspiring pitching performances (except admirable relief appearances from none other than Pedro Baez and Ross Stripling). They’ll vie to even up the series Saturday behind an abbreviated Clayton Kershaw start as the Rockies gear up to celebrate their first postseason berth since 2009.

Dodgers
Rockies
5:10 p.m. PT
Colorado
CF
Taylor
CF
Blackmon
SS
Seager
2B
LeMahieu
3B
Turner
3B
Arenado
1B
Bellinger
SS
Story
C
Barnes
1B
Reynolds
LF
Granderson
RF
González
RF
Puig LF Desmond
2B
Utley
C
Lucroy
P
Kershaw (L)
P
Marquez (R)

Kershaw (18-4, 2.21 ERA, 3.01) makes his 27th start of the season and his final tune-up before he starts Game 1 of the NLDS next Friday at Dodger Stadium (start time TBD in case you’re still wondering). Speaking of 9-1 Dodger losses to the Rockies, Kersh only lasted 3 2/3 innings and allowed four runs on six hits with three walks and seven strikeouts the last time he faced Colorado, at Dodger Stadium, on September 7. Albeit that was Kershaw’s second start since returning from the disabled list with a back injury.

The supreme lefty is 3-2 with a 3.64 ERA in five starts against the Rockies this season. Overall in his career, he is 21-7 with a 3.16 ERA in 37 starts. Like Hyun-Jin Ryu, Kershaw has had some rough outings at Coors Field, and he’s 9-4 with a 4.58 ERA in 19 career starts. He’s allowed 16 home runs at the mile high stadium, the most at any opposing team’s ballpark. He’ll have to be wary of Nolan Arenado, who has taken him deep three times. Kersh’s season hasn’t been his sharpest, but I think at this point Kershaw’s target is that elusive World Series ring rather than a fourth Cy Young Award.

The Rox send young right-hander German Marquez (11-7, 4.38 ERA, 4.35) to the mound to counter Kershaw. Marquez leads rookie pitchers with 145 strikeouts. He wasn’t involved in the decision in his only career start against the Dodgers on September 8 in L.A., striking out nine and allowing four runs on six hits in four innings.

Chris Taylor is back in the lineup. He’ll definitely be testing his injured knee in the sprawling center field of Coors Field today. The Rockies will use the same exact lineup they did in the series opener.

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Looking ahead to the NLDS:

Finally, here are the clinching scenarios with two games remaining in the regular season.

The Red Sox defeated the Astros, so Boston clinched the AL East and Cleveland clinched AL home-field advantage. So far the AL Division Series looks like: Red Sox @ Astros and Twins/Yankees @ Indians.

The Dodgers’ magic number over Cleveland for home-field advantage throughout the entirety of the postseason is 1.

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September still has one more day left to it, but the Dodgers have played like they’ve already torn the page off their desk calendar revealing October. Despite momentum’s meaninglessness when it comes to postseason success, it would be ideal if no one is injured or dies at Coors Field in Game 161 and Game 162.

About Stacie Wheeler

Stacie Wheeler
Stacie Wheeler, born and raised in So Cal, has been writing about the Dodgers since 2010. She wrote daily as the Co-Editor of Lasorda's Lair for five long years, and she has also written for Dodgers Nation and Dodger Blue 1958. She currently contributes to The Hardball Times. Stacie graduated from the University Of Southern California with a bachelor's degree in Cinema-Television. You can also watch her videos on her YouTube channel, DishingUpTheDodgers.