The Dodgers will start this week just a half-game out of first place in the National League West. As it just so happens, the next three games will be played against the Rockies who they trail. Only six regular season home games remain in Los Angeles, the final one being played on Sunday. This could potentially be the important week of the season for the boys in blue.
The Final Two Teams
The simple fact of the matter is that the west has become a two-horse race. Arizona has imploded, losing 12 of their last 16 games and free-falling to 4.5 games out of first place. They also don’t stand a chance at the wild card spot, currently chasing the top teams by four games. The Rockies and Dodgers will be the front runners until the very end.
Three games with Colorado could make or break the entire season. If Los Angeles takes two out of three games, then they can head into the weekend with a half-game lead. Losing out the series could potentially put them in a very bad spot though. Colorado’s schedule gets a little bit easier in the last week of the season, facing a Phillies team that has been roughed up in the month of September. They also face the Nationals who have played decently in the final month of the season against some pretty good teams.
Los Angeles will play their final 12 games of the season against NL West teams. Three games with Colorado, three games in Arizona, and three games in San Francisco to close out the year. The Rockies get the added bonus of finishing their final six games at home.
Colorado’s schedule after Los Angeles makes this a must-win series for the Dodgers. Los Angeles will start Hyu-jin Ryu, Clayton Kershaw, and Walker Beuhler in the series. Not a bad trio of guys to send out in must-win games. Since his return from the DL, Ryu has tossed 33.2 innings of work with a solid 2.67 ERA. Kershaw’s second half has been phenomenal, throwing 67.2 innings and earning a 2.26 ERA. Walker Buehler is coming off of the best start of his career where he threw eight shutout innings against St Louis.
The Rockies will counter with a trio of Jon Gray, Kyle Freeland, and Tyler Anderson. Gray has been roughed up over his last four starts, allowing 13 earned runs in 20.2 innings of work. Kyle Freeland has been touched up a little in September but did hold the Dodgers to one run on his September 8th start. Tyler Anderson has been terrible since the start of August. He has tossed 35.1 innings and allowed 35 earned runs for a 8.92 ERA.
The Details Matter
The bullpens for these two teams have been surprisingly effective in Septemeber. The Rockies have combined for 51 innings of relief and allowed 12 earned runs for a 2.12 era. The Dodgers have combined for a 2.54 era across 49.2 innings of relief. Ryan Madson has accounted for five of the 14 runs allowed.
The biggest differences have been in the two teams’ offensive outputs since they last met. Colorado managed just three runs against San Francisco over the weekend, while the Dodgers poured on 29 runs against the Cardinals in a four-game set. Unfortunately, they were shut out on Sunday evening. The Dodgers have scored 44 runs compared to the Rockies 34 since the two teams met on September 9th.
The outlook for the rest of the season should have some more clarity after Wednesday’s game finishes. If the Dodgers can get two wins out of the series, then things are certainly trending in the right direction. If they lose two or three games though…that could be a tough hill to climb.
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