COLORADO ROCKIES (74-65)
at LOS ANGELES DODGERS (92-47)
First pitch: Thursday, 10:10 p.m. ET
Line: Colorado +240, Los Angeles -290, Total: 6.5
The Dodgers will be hoping to avoid a seven-game losing streak when they host the Rockies on Thursday.
The Rockies once seemed like an absolute lock to make it to the postseason, but they now only have a two-game lead over the Cardinals for the second wild card spot in the National League. The Brewers are also lurking, as Milwaukee is only 2.5 games back of that spot. If Colorado doesn’t start to win games at a higher clip then the team will be watching the postseason from home. Fortunately for the Rockies, they did just win two of a three-game set against the Giants last series. And while they are facing the league-best Dodgers in this next series, they are meeting them at the best possible time. Los Angeles has really struggled as of late, as the team has lost six straight and 11 of its past 12. While the Dodgers are not in danger of losing their playoff position, they definitely do want to get themselves going with a win. They don’t want to risk being ice-cold heading into the postseason, as that could be a recipe for disaster. The starters in this Thursday night game are going to be RHP Jon Gray (6-4, 4.26 ERA, 79 K) for Colorado and LHP Clayton Kershaw (16-2, 1.95 ERA, 175 K) for Los Angeles. This could be a fun matchup to watch on the mound.
Jon Gray was one of Colorado’s most highly touted pitching prospects over the past decade and the righty has been very good since getting his chance with the team. This has been a career year for Gray, who has a lower ERA than any of the past three seasons and is also over .500 right now. He will, however, need to find a way to shut down a very good Dodgers lineup in this one. Fortunately for Gray, he did pitch very well in his only meeting with the team this season. Gray faced the Dodgers on Apr. 8 and pitched 5.1 innings of one-run ball. While the Rockies would love for him to pitch deeper into this game, they’re definitely not going to complain if he turns in another effort like that one. On offense, a bunch of Rockies have had success against Kershaw and the team will need those guys to step it up here too. Those players to keep an eye on are 3B Nolan Arenado and OF Gerardo Parra. The two of them are a combined 26-for-81 with six doubles, three homers, and six RBI against the lefty. That is nothing to sneeze at and they’ll both do everything they can to get to him on Thursday.
Clayton Kershaw has missed some time this year, but he still probably deserves to be the NL Cy Young Award winner. There are obviously pitchers that have had success over the course of the entire season, but nobody has been as good as Kershaw. The lefty’s ERA is under 2.00 for the fourth time in five years and his 16-2 record speaks for itself. He is pitching absolutely brilliantly and will now do what he can to shut down the Rockies. When he faced Colorado on Jun. 24, Kershaw allowed no earned runs in six innings of work. This is a lineup that has given him some trouble in the past, but that was a good outing for him and he’ll try to be even better in this time out. As for the Dodgers’ offense, the team will be hoping for a spark from somebody like 1B Cody Bellinger in this one. Bellinger has a monstrous power swing and is a great matchup against a guy like Jon Gray here. It would not be surprising at all if he connected for a homer on Thursday.