Few teams have gotten the best of the Los Angeles Dodgers at home lately, and that success is benefiting them in the standings.
Los Angeles will try for its ninth win in 10 games at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday in the opener of a three-game set against the surging Colorado Rockies.
The Dodgers (64-60) picked up their sixth victory in seven overall contests on Sunday behind Andre Ethier, whose second homer of the game in the bottom of the ninth inning secured a 7-5 home win over Milwaukee.
With the triumph, Los Angeles moved back into a first-place tie in the NL West with Arizona, which lost at Houston on Sunday and starts its own three-game home series against San Diego on Tuesday.
The Dodgers hope to create some breathing room in the division and continue their strong play in Los Angeles, where they have won eight of nine to improve to 14-4 in the last 18 games there. They haven’t lost a series at Dodger Stadium since dropping three of four to Florida from July 10-13.
“We’re certainly in a good place right now, with a lot of confidence,” Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. “We expect to win when we come out here.”
Torre’s club has won four of five against the Rockies (57-69) in Los Angeles in 2008, but has lost five of the last seven to them overall after dropping two of three at Coors Field from July 21-23.
Los Angeles didn’t have Manny Ramirez in the lineup for that set. However, the hot-hitting outfielder, who homered and drove in three runs on Sunday, has batted .424 (25-for-59) with six homers and 21 RBIs in 16 contests since he was acquired from Boston at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
Ramirez is 5-for-18 (.278) in six all-time games versus Colorado, though he’s never faced Ubaldo Jimenez (8-11, 3.94 ERA).
Jimenez allowed four runs and a career-high 11 hits over six innings in a 4-2 home loss to Arizona last Tuesday, losing a second consecutive start after winning six of his previous seven.
The right-hander, though, has pitched considerably better away from Colorado lately as he has won three of his last four road outings, posting a 1.04 ERA and holding opposing batters to a .193 average.
But he didn’t have any success at Dodger Stadium on April 25, when he was reached for six runs and seven hits in 2 1-3 innings of an 8-7, 13-inning loss.
He is 3-0 with a 5.34 ERA in six lifetime appearances against Los Angeles.
Jimenez takes the mound after Colorado completed a three-game sweep in Washington with a 7-2 victory on Sunday. Ian Stewart hit a three-run homer for the Rockies, winners of four of five overall and six of their last eight away games.
“It’s our only choice, to try to come to the field and win,” left fielder Matt Holliday told the Rockies’ official Web site.
On Tuesday, Colorado will face Hiroki Kuroda (7-8, 3.88), who is 2-0 with a 1.21 ERA in his last three starts for Los Angeles.
The right-hander limited Philadelphia to a run and two hits, while fanning seven in seven innings of a 3-1 home victory on Thursday. It improved him to 5-1 with a 3.10 ERA in 11 starts at Dodger Stadium.
Kuroda is 0-1 with a 7.50 ERA in two games versus the Rockies. He has given up five runs and nine hits, while pitching six innings in each outing against them, including in a 5-3 loss on July 23 in Colorado.