After getting Carlos Gonzalez back in the lineup their last time out, the Rockies are hoping that they're virtually at full strength when they face the Los Angeles Dodgers, winners in 15 of 18, on Thursday night. Dexter Fowler hasn't played since June 25 because of an injured right hand, and Troy Tulowitzki has been out since June 13 due to a broken rib. The two returned to the team Wednesday from rehab assignments at Triple-A Colorado Springs and the Rocks hope to have both in the lineup this evening.
Colorado (44-48) will try to continue heading in the right direction with another strong showing against the struggling Chris Capuano (2-6, 5.19 ERA). The left-hander has lost his last four matchups with the Rockies with a 6.75 ERA, giving six runs over 4 1-3 innings in a 9-5 loss at Coors Field last Thursday. The Rockies, though, will also have to face a surging Dodgers club that's 1 1/2 games behind Arizona for the NL West lead after a sweep of the Diamondbacks. Los Angeles (45-45) capped that series by rallying for a 7-5 victory in 14 innings Wednesday.
Colorado sends 24 year old rookie southpaw Drew Pomeranz (0-2 9.72) to the hill this evening. Pomeranz was hit hard again as he suffered his second loss of the season Saturday night against the Diamondbacks. The left-hander surrendered five runs on five hits and five walks while striking out two over four innings pitched in an 11-1 defeat. The Dodger lineup that has no question shown a major improvement in its offensive production over the last month where there average was as low as .245 in late May. They've since upped it cumulatively to .263 and are now scoring right around 4 runs per contest while hitting 95 HR. A lot of concentration has been thrown around by the emergence of rookie Yasiel Puig (.394 8 19), if he should represent the NL in next week's All-Star game. While his numbers are no doubt impressive, he may get the chance at season's end to contend for the batting title so long as he keeps things up. Not to be outdone, Hanley Ramirez, (.409 8 24) has been equally as effective as the young Puig, and hopes to keep the Dodgers in contention throughout the second half. Right now it all starts with Adrian Gonzalez (.300 14 58) before the emergence of the injured starters and the fab rookie has powered the Dodgers to a recovery after a real slow start. Gonzalez leads LA in all major categories while at the same time cutting down on his strikeouts playing a near flawless first base. While Andre Ethier (.273 5 27) and Matt Kemp (.254 4 24) have battled slow starts and injuries, Mattingly hopes to have the full caliber of his lineup healthy after the ASB sporting one of the largest payrolls in baseball.
The Dodgers counter with the equally struggling Chris Capuano (2-6, 5.19 ERA). The left-hander has lost his last four matchups with the Rockies with a 6.75 ERA, giving six runs over 4 1-3 innings in a 9-5 loss at Coors Field last Thursday.Capuano will face a Rockies lineup that has remained relatively consistent at the plate averaging nearly 4.6 runs per contest and splitting their success home and away from Coors Field, once the league's official dominating launching pad. Their 106 Hr ranks second only behind Atlanta in the NL and 6th overall in the majors. While Tulowitzki (.347 16 51) only has made 222 plate appearances this season not quite enough to qualify, his numbers are staggering given his playing time and injuries that limit him. Carlos Gonzalez (.302 24 63) leads the Rockies in production and could be flirting with career numbers in overall output. Mcihael Cuddyer (.337 15 52) saw his 27 game hitting streak come to an end last week, but remains second in the NL in hitting behind Yadier Molina. With Fowler (.291 10 26) expected back this evening at the top of the fray and Willin Rosario's production (.277 13 45) starting behind the plate, it's clear that with improving starting pitching Colorado has the pieces to make a second half comeback contending out of the NL West.
Another bargain of a price this evening albeit a little higher in total at Chavez Revine, one of several NL ballparks that favor the pitcher. However during the summer the ball has a tendency to carry more towards the corners on clearer nights and gentle breezes towards center. Both pitchers this evening will look to put an end to the bleeding over their past few starts but given the scheduled lineups and starter misfortunes, we believe a slugfest is in order opening up this crucial 4 game series. Best of luck however you play!