The Colorado Rockies are a long shot to make the second trip to the playoffs in their existence, but they do have a chance to make franchise history on Thursday.
The streaking Rockies go for their first-ever four-game home sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers when the teams wrap up their series at Coors Field.
The Rockies (80-72) have not swept the Dodgers (79-73) in any series at home since taking three games Sept. 2-4, 2005. They swept four games at Dodger Stadium Aug. 9-12, 1993, in their expansion season.
Colorado has won four straight overall, and moved a game ahead of Los Angeles with Wednesday’s 6-5 win. Brad Hawpe hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the eighth inning, one night after Todd Helton hit a game-winning two-run homer in the ninth in the second game of a doubleheader sweep.
The Rockies are 4 1/2 games behind San Diego for the NL wild-card lead and 5 1/2 behind division-leading Arizona with 10 games remaining, but still think they have a shot at their second postseason appearance, and first since 1995.
“Why not?” Hawpe said. “We’re still within good striking distance. If we didn’t feel like that, we wouldn’t have won the last two games. We’ve worked hard for this. It’s something you’re thinking about at night, you’re thinking about eating breakfast, talking to your wife. … I think everybody feels we’re just good.”
The Rockies are eight games above .500 for the first time since July 6, 2000.
The Dodgers, who also have 10 games left, have lost four straight despite scoring 31 runs over that span. James Loney drove in three runs Wednesday, while Juan Pierre scored two runs, had two hits including a triple, and stole his 60th base of the season.
“We got all our mileage out of singles while they got all theirs out of home runs,” Los Angeles manager Grady Little said.
Colorado’s Matt Holliday had two homers, giving him 10 in his last 11 games. Before the game, Colorado manager Clint Hurdle was campaigning for Holliday, who leads the league in batting average (.340), RBIs (128), hits (204) and doubles (48), to win the NL MVP award.
“Do I think it should happen? Yes, I do,” Hurdle said. “He’s worthy. He’s done some remarkable things.”
Holliday is 13-for-22 (.591) with four doubles all-time against Derek Lowe (12-12, 3.71 ERA), who takes the mound for the Dodgers in the series finale.
Lowe is making his second start since having his turn skipped after he bruised his hand playing catch. He gave up one run in seven innings of Saturday’s 6-2 win over Arizona.
“There was no pain, there was no nothing,” Lowe said. “It was a freaky way to miss a start, but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Everything went good.”
Lowe joined Greg Maddux and Tim Hudson as the only major league pitchers to win 12 or more games in each of the past six seasons. The right-handed sinkerballer is 5-3 with a 4.74 ERA in 11 career starts against the Rockies, but yielded five runs in 4 2-3 innings of a 7-2 loss at Colorado on April 18.
Colorado counters with Ubaldo Jimenez (3-4, 4.13), who is 0-2 with a 4.35 ERA in four starts since his last win on Aug. 25 against Washington. The rookie right-hander allowed five runs - two earned - and walked four batters in just three innings of Saturday’s 10-2 loss to Florida.
Jimenez’s only previous start against the Dodgers came on July 29, when he allowed two runs in six innings of a 9-6 home win. He also made a relief outing against them on Sept. 26 last season, throwing a scoreless inning without getting a decision.