Dodgers @ Rockies June 17, 2024: Paxton opens the series as Dodgers head to Coors for the first time this season

By: Stacie Wheeler

The Dodgers took two of three against a surprisingly good Kansas City team this weekend, which should be cause for celebration among Dodger fans. Unfortunately, a dominant Tyler Glasnow outing and two-homer game by Shohei Ohtani yesterday was overshadowed by the injury bug. While Yoshinobu Yamamoto left Saturday’s start early and Dodger fans were awaiting his update, Mookie Betts took a 98-mph fastball off the knuckle and left the game in pain yesterday. Postgame delivered some bad but not-worst case scenario updates on both players. Yamamoto has a rotator cuff issue and is shut down indefinitely, and Betts has a broken hand. Neither are believed to be season-ending, but figure to keep them both out over a month at least.

To make matters worse, the Dodgers now head to Colorado for a four-game set against the Rockies. The Rockies are one of two National League teams more than 1.5 games out of a playoff spot at 25-46. They went to LA at the end of May and won the series-opener before dropping the next two games. They’ve only won four of the 13 games they’ve played since then and dropped two of three at home against the Pirates over the weekend. The Dodgers went 10-3 against the Rockies in 2023, but all three losses came in Colorado.

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5:40 P.M. Denver
DH Ohtani (L) CF Doyle
C Smith LF Jones (L)
1B Freeman (L) SS Tovar
LF T. Hern√°ndez C Stallings
CF Pages RF Toglia (S)
RF Heyward (L) 1B Montero
SS Rojas DH Goodman
3B Biggio (L) 3B Trejo
2B Lux (L) 2B Amador (S)
P Paxton (L) P Quantrill (R)

James Paxton makes his first ever start at Coors Field tonight. Paxton’s had a rough season, but turned in a solid start against the defending champs his last time out. He allowed one run and two hits over six innings last Tuesday to get his ERA back under 4.00. That was much better than his previous start, where he failed to get out of the second inning and allowed eight baserunners and six runs before being pulled. A seventh run scored after he was pulled, but it was unearned on a passed ball. Paxton has only struck out two batters in both of his starts this month and has struck out fewer than five in every start since his first this season. His 13.8 percent strikeout rate is the fourth-worst among pitchers with over 50 innings pitched (and would be second-worst among pitchers with 60 innings pitched, but he’s at 59 2/3 for the season).

Cal Quantrill makes his 15th start of the season for the Rockies. His first year in Colorado started rough, as he had a 5.34 ERA/5.93 FIP through his first six starts. Since then, he’s been pretty excellent. Over his last eight starts, Quantrill has allowed only 10 runs in 47 innings. Six of those starts came on the road which could be the main factor, but Quantrill’s only allowed more than two runs in a game once in that span. That came in LA, where the Dodgers scored four runs and nine hits over 4 1/3 innings off Quantrill. He hasn’t allowed a run in his last two starts but his command has been a bit shaky. He walked four in five innings in St. Louis on June 6, and last time out he only walked one but hit two batters.

Quantrill throws a sinker 39.7 percent of the time this season. His 47.4 percent ground ball rate is the 17th-best among qualified starters. He added a splitter last season and now it’s his second-most-used pitch (35.6 percent), with opponents only hitting .145 with a .181 slugging against it. The expected numbers are a bit worse (.207 and .311, respectively), but it’s still his best offering. He also mixes in a cutter (11.3 percent), curveball (9.9 percent) and changeup (3.5 percent).

With Betts sidelined, Shohei Ohtani moves up to the leadoff spot. He’s expected to lead off against righties with Betts out, but it’s undecided if he’ll also lead off against lefties. Will Smith moves up to second with Freddie Freeman staying third to break up the lefties. Miguel Rojas starts at short and hits seventh, and figures to get most of the playing time for the time being. When I’m commissioner, a team that injures a player will be forced to provide a replacement player. The Dodgers should be entitled to one (1) Bobby Witt Jr.

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Betts was officially placed on the IL, with Miguel Vargas getting recalled.

Will Vargas actually get any playing time this time? Doubtful. Betts is expected to be out roughly 6-8 weeks.

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The Dodgers officially revealed their new City Connect jerseys.

They’re not quite as bad as I thought from the leaks. If the numbers were normal and not cut off (and not forced double digits), I think I’d actually like these. They’ll debut on Saturday when the Dodgers are back in LA to host the Angels.

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First pitch is scheduled for 5:40 PM PT and will be shown on SportsNet LA.

About Alex Campos

I've been writing about the Dodgers since I graduated from Long Beach State, where I covered the Dirtbags in my senior year. I'm either very good or very bad at puns.