Colorado (4-6) at Los Angeles (9-3)

Fair Currently: Los Angeles, CA
Temp: 48° F
  • Game info: 4:10 pm EDT Sun Apr 19, 2009
Preview | Box Score | Recap

As a reliever, James McDonald has proved to be virtually untouchable for the Los Angeles Dodgers. His first career start, however, left a lot to be desired.

McDonald will look for a better performance on Sunday as the Dodgers go for their eighth straight win in the finale of their three-game set with the Colorado Rockies.

One of Los Angeles’ call-ups in September, McDonald didn’t allow a run in four regular-season relief appearances, and the right-hander stayed perfect in two NL championship series games against Philadelphia, giving up only three hits in 5 1-3 innings.

With his second start pushed back three days, McDonald also threw a scoreless inning in Thursday night’s 7-2 win over San Francisco to keep his record spotless through 12 1-3 career innings in relief.

His first turn as a starter on April 10 in Arizona began with two perfect innings, but McDonald (0-1, 13.50 ERA) didn’t make it through the third, allowing five runs on two hits with three walks in a 9-4 loss.

The Dodgers (9-3) haven’t dropped a game since, and got two home runs apiece from Manny Ramirez and Andre Ethier in Saturday’s 9-5 victory. Ramirez, who hadn’t homered in 36 consecutive at-bats to open the season, sent one deep in the first inning for his first career homer against the Rockies, and Los Angeles never trailed.

“I’m just happy to get that out of the way,” Ramirez said. “I know it’s a long season and I knew it was going to come around, so I was just being patient. … But I’ve got to go and keep finding myself out there. What we did today don’t mean anything. It’s not how you start, but how you finish. We’ve got to keep battling and keep winning.”

Matt Kemp extended his hitting streak to 12 games in his final at-bat - an RBI single during a three-run seventh—keeping him tied with St. Louis’ Chris Duncan for the longest in the major leagues so far in 2009. The Cardinals’ Ryan Ludwick has hit in 21 consecutive games dating back to last season.

Kemp has a good shot to make it 13 as he is 4-for-10 with two doubles in his career against Colorado’s scheduled starter, Ubaldo Jimenez (1-1, 2.53).

Jimenez will look to stay undefeated against the Dodgers and help the Rockies (4-6) avoid their first sweep to Los Angeles in nearly a year. The right-hander is 4-0 despite a 5.35 ERA in seven appearances - six starts - versus the Dodgers, and has recorded victories in consecutive games, including his only career complete game July 22.

If the Rockies’ offense doesn’t bounce back, that streak might end. With his team hitting .229, Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said his players are starting to press after combining for 13 hits in the first two games of the series.

“We have some of that going on,” Hurdle told the Rockies’ official Web site. “We have some guys hitting the harder, faster, quicker button and we talked about it backing off, getting a single and hitting it where it’s pitched. Sometimes it’s the only way to get their attention.”

Los Angeles had two eight-game win streaks last season including one from April 25-May 3, which began with a three-game home sweep of Colorado.

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Starting Pitchers

U. Jiménez Bal vs. J. McDonald ChC
15-12 Record 5-5
3.47 ERA 4.00
198 K 54
85 BB 34
1.23 WHIP 1.49


Sunday, Apr 19