The Colorado Rockies will look to close out June by heading in the opposite direction from when the month started and build off the momentum from a wild victory Thursday.
The first weekend of June was one to forget when the Rockies were swept in a three-game series by the Los Angeles Dodgers. In full revival after a slow start to the season, the Dodgers scored 33 runs in their three victories.
Now the Rockies head to L.A. with a full head of steam. They lost a heartbreaker Wednesday on a Giants game-ending home run and coughed up a late lead Thursday before DJ LeMahieu's ninth-inning home run was the difference in a victory.
With the month set to close this weekend, the Rockies have some confidence on their side as they open a three-game series against the Dodgers. The Rockies will send left-hander Tyler Anderson (4-3, 4.62 ERA) to the mound Friday night against Dodgers lefty Rich Hill (1-2, 5.30).
Even after the Rockies were swept by the Dodgers to open the month they still sat in second place in the National League West, 31/2 games behind the first-place Arizona Diamondbacks. The Dodgers were in third place, 4 1/2 games behind the Diamondbacks.
Heading into this weekend series, though, the Rockies are in fourth place eight games back, while the Dodgers are in second, 31/2 back. The Rockies have gone 9-16 in June.
The Rockies victory Thursday appears to be motivated by a talk-is-cheap statement from Nolan Arenado, who then went out and hit a first-inning home run in a win that ended a four-game losing streak.
"We can talk about it all we want; we've been talking about this since April," Arenado said, according to The Athletic. "How are we going to turn it around? Blah blah. We haven't yet."
The Dodgers have turned around their season by going 17-7 in June. But their turnaround goes back even further. They are 27-11 since May 17 and have the long ball to thank for it.
With two home runs Thursday, the Dodgers now have 53 in the month to tie a franchise record. They will spend the next two games chasing the major league record of 58 for a single month.
But the Dodgers are coming off an 11-5 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Thursday and went 3-4 against the Cubs over the past 10 days. The Dodgers have called the Cubs a measuring stick and they ended up losing the season series to the team they have faced in each of the last two National League Championship Series.
Now the Dodgers return to division play, after just six games against NL West opponents this month. The Dodgers are 5-1 against the Rockies this season.
If there is anything the Cubs might have exposed when it comes to the Dodgers it is a bullpen that appears to be in something of a lull. Dodgers' relievers gave up eight runs in a defeat Tuesday and 10 in Thursday's loss.
"I'm not concerned about it," manager Dave Roberts told reporters after Thursday's game. "We match up very well with (the Cubs) and they match up well with us. I think we are very comparable clubs. You give away outs, walks, we both can slug. You have to play good baseball. You look at a couple of games where they broke it open against our (bullpen) but by and large, our bullpen has been pretty good for some time."
Anderson is 2-3 with a 4.85 ERA in eight starts versus the Dodgers. Hill is 0-3, 7.52 in four starts against the Rockies.