Dodgers @ Rockies July 28, 2022: Beginning one last trip to Coors Field in 2022

As much as it seems like Coors Field is a nightmare to spend the 9 to 10 games at each year, the Dodgers haven’t actually had too much trouble there in recent history.

Winning 7-3 in 2021 and 2019, with a 3-1 record between the two seasons in 2020, you have to go back to 2017 for the last time the Dodgers finished .500 on the road against the Rockies. Adding in the 6-4 2018 season, and it was 23-11 entering the year. With the last trip to Coors this year beginning today, the Dodgers will need to win the series after going 2-4 in Denver this season.

Two of those loses came in the opening series and another two at the end of June. One of those two came with Tyler Anderson on the mound, his lone loss of the year. It’ll be Anderson’s third appearance against his former team this season while the Rockies send out Jose Urena, who debuted for the Rockies in Los Angeles back in early July.

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5:40 PM Denver
RF Betts 1B Joe
SS T. Turner SS Iglesias
1B Freeman (L) LF Bryant
C Smith DH Cron
DH Lamb (L) 2B Rodgers
2B Lux (L) RF Grichuk
3B Muncy (L) C Diaz
CF Bellinger (L) 3B McMahon (L)
LF McKinstry (L) CF Daza
P Anderson (L) P Urena (R)

Here’s how the offenses breakdown for this season.

2022DodgersRockies
wRC+120 (T-1st)93 (T-23rd)
OPS.775 (T-1st).735 (7th)
wOBA.337 (T-1st).322 (7th)
Avg..256 (4th).262 (2nd)
BB%10.1% (2nd)8.0% (T-17th)
K%21.6% (T-11th)20.6% (T-7th)

Urena’s season split might be part of the reason there’s six left-handed batters in the lineup, including Zack McKinstry’s first start since June 3 as he’s entered in the 6th inning or later in his last six appearances. McKinstry’s only hit in eight at-bats this season remains his homer against the Mets in that lone start. Justin Turner gets the night back off again after starting against the Nationals yesterday following five days off.

For the Rockies, it’s all right-handed batters except for Ryan McMahon, with Charlie Blackmon getting the day off.

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Anderson’s start in Colorado on June 27 was one of just three where he gave up more than three runs, and the only one of the three since June 10. Over his past four starts since that loss in Colorado, Anderson has allowed just four runs in 25 1/3 innings with 20 strikeouts to six walks and 18 hits.

Sitting at a 2.79 ERA/3.27 FIP/3.96 xFIP, Anderson has already been worth 2.3 WAR according to FanGraphs. That already ranks just 0.1 WAR behind his first year in the majors in 11 less innings. As has already been discussed multiple times, Anderson’s changeup is pretty much the key this season. Throwing it 32.3% of the time overall, primarily to right-handed batters at 38.4% compared to 4.7% against lefties, Anderson’s change is at a .170 BA/.170 xBA/.237 SLG/.233 xSLG/.186 xOBA/.188 xwOBA with a 39.9 Whiff%.

Tied for 38th in the league with a -9 run value, Anderson’s change is third among the pitch type as a whole. Only Sandy Alcantara (-15 run value) and Nabil Crismatt (-12 run value) have been more valuable this season. There’s plenty to list, but to keep it simple, Anderson’s change is essentially in the top four of changeups in all the stats listed above and primarily stands out for its 16.8 Hard Hit% that is not only the best among all changeups but also the lowest Hard Hit% of any pitcher’s pitch with a minimum of 100 PAs.

As for Urena, he’s thrown 24 innings for the Rockies since signing a minor league deal with Colorado in May after being designated for assignment by the Brewers in early May.

Through his first three starts with Colorado, Urena allowed just three runs in 18 2/3 innings. Now the 17 hits and eight walks to just nine strikeouts showed that some trouble may be coming, and his most recent start against Milwaukee ended with six runs allowed on two walks and six hits in 5 1/3 innings.

Throwing a sinker 57.0% of the time, Urena uses the pitch as the primary regardless of the handedness of the batter with a slider, change and four-seamer rounding out the other 43.0% of his usage. While that’s kept right-handed batters in check at a .164/.246/.218/.464, lefties are at .333/.408/.476/.884 with about an equal number of batters faced. It likely goes without saying, but there’s a strong reason why six lefties are in the lineup for the Dodgers tonight.

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We shall see how the rain impacts tonight’s game.

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As Dustin May continues to progress to a return to the majors for the first time since May 1 of last year, Edwin Rios has joined him in Triple-A OKC.

Rios went on the IL back on June 3 and was transferred to the 60-day IL on June 22. Amazingly those 60 days are almost up, with Rios’ .244/.293/.500/.793 in 92 PAs this season closing in on returning to the majors.

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First pitch is at 5:40 p.m. PDT on SportsNet LA.

About Cody Bashore

Cody Bashore is a lifelong Dodger fan originally from Carpinteria, California (about 80 miles north of Dodger Stadium along the coast). He left California to attend Northern Arizona University in 2011, and has lived in Arizona full-time since he graduated in 2014 with a journalism degree. He now works for the university’s athletics department after spending seven years with the local newspaper.