Since an eight-game losing streak last month, the Los Angeles Dodgers have made a dramatic turnaround and are showing little signs of slowing down anytime soon.
The NL West-leading Dodgers look to win their fourth straight Saturday when they continue a three-game series against the slumping Colorado Rockies, whose playoff hopes are rapidly fading.
Los Angeles (76-71) won its third straight and improved to 11-1 in its last 12 games following a 7-2 win over the Rockies (67-80) on Friday. Matt Kemp drove in two runs and James Loney hit a bases-clearing double in the ninth to help the Dodgers remain 3 1/2 games ahead of the Diamondbacks in the NL West.
“If we keep winning, we’ll be all right,” starter Chad Billingsley said. “We’re where we want to be, we want to keep playing well, and that’s the only thing we can control.”
Los Angeles has scored 20 runs in its last three games and is averaging 6.0 runs in its last 12 games after an offensive slump put it behind the Diamondbacks in the standings. Before the current run, the Dodgers had lost 10 of 11, averaging only 2.2 runs in a tailspin that included the eight-game losing streak.
The offense isn’t the only aspect of Los Angeles’ game that has turned things around, however, as its starting pitching has also been impressive. The rotation is 9-1 with a 2.85 ERA in the last 12 games after going 0-7 with a 5.95 ERA during the eight-game slide.
“We’ve jelled,” Kemp said. “We’re getting the job done on the pitching side and hitting side. Everything’s just clicking for us right now.”
The loss was the Rockies’ sixth straight, dropping them 9 1/2 games behind the Dodgers with 14 games remaining. They had won 13 of their previous 19 to pull within five games of the then-West-leading Diamondbacks.
The Dodgers send Clayton Kershaw (3-5, 4.60 ERA) to the mound on Saturday, looking to continue their run.
The 20-year-old rookie left-hander pitched only four innings on Sunday against Arizona, allowing three runs and six hits in a 5-3 win. Kershaw needed 92 pitches to get through the outing, and also gave up two home runs.
Kershaw has pitched twice against the Rockies, allowing seven runs and 15 hits over a combined 15 innings of work. He lost both of those starts.
Jorge De La Rosa (8-7, 5.30) counters for Colorado.
De La Rosa pitched 5 1-3 innings Sunday against the Astros, allowing four runs and six hits in the 7-5 loss. He did not factor in the decision after winning his previous two starts.
The left-hander is 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in two starts and one relief appearance against the Dodgers this season.
Todd Helton was activated from the 60-day disabled list by the Rockies before Friday’s game. Helton, who helped Colorado reach the World Series last season, pinch-hit in the sixth, striking out in his first at-bat since July 2. Helton was hitting .266 with 29 RBIs in 81 games before being sidelined with back problems.