As Jaredean scrambles to stitch slashed throats and gather slithering RWOers scrambling back onto the bandwagon, the Colorado Rockies zoom into Los Angeles for a 3-game series with the Dodgers on a
5-game winning streak, 8-1/2 games behind the Division leading Giants and a game under .500. Game 1 is tonight at Dodger Stadium in Chavez Ravine, starting at 7:30 MDT. Colorado finished last week with 5 wins and 2 losses. The week started on the last-leg of an 8-game losing streak, and included a series of interesting adventures, beginning with Christian Bergman’s Major League debut on Monday.
Bergman acquitted himself nicely, allowing 2 runs in 6 innings against Atlanta, but that night the offense declined to score. Tuesday featured a horrible performance by Juan Nicasio, who surrendered 10 in
3-2/3, including a 7 run 1st. The Rockies scored 10, but the Braves managed 13, and the Colorado losing streak reached its nadir at 8. On Wednesday it was Debut II, this time starring Tyler Matzek, who not only limited Atlanta to 2 runs in 7 innings, he also broke one streak and started another. The Rockies brought ace Julio Teheran down a notch in that one, and Teheran knocked the helmet off of 2nd-baseman Josh Rutledge in the 5th inning, an event that at the time appeared to be nothing more significant than an extra close shave.
Then Thursday afternoon they were back at it, whacking away at Ervin Santana and Jordan Walden with Jhoulys Chacin turning in his best start of 2014 for his 1st victory. But Jhoulys was in the showers by the time all the excitement broke-out, when Corey Dickerson clipped Braves’ catcher Gerald Laird with his follow-through on a foul-tipped 84 MPH slider from David Carpenter. Laird was knocked-silly, couldn’t pass the Woozy Test, and Evan Gattis came on to catch. Inspired by good sense and fair play, Carpenter drilled Dickerson in the thigh on the first pitch after play resumed, bringing Colorado manager Walt Weiss, the fastball to Rutledge’s head fresh in-mind, charging onto the field in a manner that some observers reported “resembled Bobby Cox with good knees.” Weiss joined Chacin in the shower, and Carpenter was dispatched to join Santana and Walden, but the incident defined a moment, and appeared to set a tone for a Colorado team poised to move beyond a month of fruitless futility.
Atlanta blew-town for Anaheim, and the Rockies headed for San Francisco, where Friday brought a most unusual 9th-inning come from behind victory over the Giants and their bearded closer Sergio Romo, who Colorado had also slapped around May 20th at Coors Field. Curious as that was, Saturday it happened again, and by this time rumors were circulating about Rockies hitters referring to Romo as “my b_tch.” Finally came Sunday, with Nicasio turning-in another alarmingly bad start, prompting speculation Colorado may give his next start to someone like Chad Bettis “just to see somebody else get blistered” in [Nicasio’s] slot. The Rockies fell behind 7-3 before getting one back in the 7th and 4 in the 8th to sweep San Francisco at ATT Park for the first time in 4-1/2 years.
If that wasn’t enough excitement, the week also featured MLB Films’ release of the first edition of Josh Rutledge blooper plays, entitled “Designate Me a Hitter,” available in stores tomorrow.
With a series victory in LA, Colorado will win a road trip for the first time since LaTroy Hawkins was a young man. After these three in California the Rockies return to Coors Field for 3 with the NL Central leading Milwaukee Brewers. Matzek (1-0, 2.57) is back up tonight, looking to duplicate Wednesday’s effort, this time with thousands of aspiring starlets looking on in twittering anticipation. The left-hander, who allowed 5 hits and struck-out 7 Braves, will be opposed by the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu
(7-3, 3.33), also a southpaw. Ryu has faced the Rockies twice in 2014, getting knocked-around at Dodger Stadium in April and beating them 7-2 on June 6 in Denver when the Colorado swoon was in full-flower. Ryu also pitched Wednesday, losing to Cincinnati, when he allowed 4 in 6 innings.
Los Angeles’ Don Mattingly is putting his usual suspects out on the field, although right-handed Scott Van Slyke will bat 5th at 1st base for Adrian Gonzalez against the lefty Matzek. Miguel Rojas will hit 8th at 3rd-base with the Dodgers down to their third 3rd-baseman with Juan Uribe down and Justin Turner battling a bum leg. Justin Morneau is back in Weiss’ lineup at cleanup. Wilin Rosario will catch the youngster Matzek, hitting 6th, and Rutledge will be at 2nd-base, so everybody else best get out of the way.
Typical LA weather prevails. The temperature will be in the high 60ºs with wind blowing straight-out at 9 MPH. Humidity will be about 60% as Drew Goodman and George Frazier bring you the action on ROoT Sports. KOA’s got the radio on 850 am.
NICASIO GETS BUS TICKET
Sniveling rhetoric aside, the Rockies have optioned Juan Nicasio to AAA Colorado Springs for a refresher course. Outfielder 1st-baseman Kyle Parker gets the call, and his first appearance will be his Major League debut. Nicasio’s slot is up Saturday; mums the word on who will take that turn.
Charlie Blackmon (L) LF
Brandon Barnes (R) RF
Troy Tulowitzki (R) SS
Justin Morneau (L) 1B
Drew Stubbs (R) CF
Wilin Rosario (R) C
Josh Rutledge (R) 2B
Charlie Culberson (R) 3B
Tyler Matzek (L) P
|LOS ANGELES (37-34)
Dee Gordon (L) 2B
Hanley Ramirez (R) SS
Yasiel Puig (R) RF
Matt Kemp (R) LF
Scott Van Slyke (R) 1B
Andre Ethier (L) CF
A.J. Ellis (R) C
Miguel Rojas (R) 3B
Hyun-Jin Ryu (R) P