The Los Angeles Dodgers’ best offensive performance of the season kept them in a first-place tie in the NL West. It didn’t take long for a return to form to cost them that top spot.
After following a big night at the plate with a more typical showing, the Dodgers look to bounce back and reclaim a portion of first place in the division as they close a three-game series against the surging Colorado Rockies on Wednesday.
Los Angeles (49-51) has struggled offensively most of the season, ranking near the bottom of the majors in runs, hits, home runs and slugging percentage.
The Dodgers’ bats appeared to be coming alive during a 4-1 stretch that began the game before the All-Star break. They averaged 8.2 runs and batted .305 in those five contests, which included a 16-10 win in the series opener against Colorado on Monday night. With season highs in runs and hits (18) in that game, Los Angeles remained tied with Arizona atop the NL West.
The Dodgers, though, didn’t save much offense for Tuesday night, when Rockies starter Ubaldo Jimenez held them to four hits in a complete-game 10-1 victory. It was the 29th time this season the Dodgers have been held to one or no runs.
While the Dodgers’ offensive surge hit a snag, the Rockies’ continued. Colorado (44-58), which is six games behind Los Angeles in the division, has averaged 8.0 runs and batted .374 while winning five of its first six games since the All-Star break.
The Rockies have had at least 13 hits in each of their last four games and at least 10 runs in each of their last three.
“We’re all swinging the bat well,” third baseman Ian Stewart said after hitting a home run and driving in four runs in Tuesday’s victory. “It seems like we’re seeing the ball well and everyone’s driving the ball.”
Dodgers manager Joe Torre echoed Stewart’s sentiments.
“This (Colorado) lineup is pretty intimidating,” he told the Dodgers’ official Web site. “There’s not a soft spot in it.”
The Rockies hope to continue their offensive surge against Dodgers starter Hiroki Kuroda (5-6, 3.79 ERA). The right-hander was bailed out by the Los Angeles bats Friday, when he gave up six runs in two innings of the Dodgers’ 8-7, 11-inning win over Arizona.
Kuroda gave up five runs in six innings of his first career start against Colorado - an 8-7, 13-inning Los Angeles win on April 25.
The Rockies will counter with Glendon Rusch (3-3, 5.79), who has held opponents to three runs in 11 2-3 innings in winning back-to-back starts. The left-hander allowed two runs in 5 2-3 innings of a 5-2 victory over Pittsburgh on Friday.
“Those are two good starts,” Rockies manager Clint Hurdle told the team’s official Web site. “He’s establishing momentum off the mound and in the rotation for himself.”
However, Rusch could struggle to continue his strong play when he meets Los Angeles. He’s 0-5 with a 14.21 ERA in 10 career games - five starts - against the Dodgers, and his team has lost each of those contests.