The Rockies will try to continue one of the largest comebacks in major league history by forcing a tie in the NL West on Saturday night against the host Dodgers.
Colorado was 15 1/2 games behind Los Angeles on June 3 but four months later, that deficit is down to one game following Friday night’s 4-3 victory at Dodger Stadium. Yorvit Torrealba’s(notes) two-run double and Troy Tulowitzki’s(notes) two-run homer gave their team enough to withstand a rally.
No team has ever rallied from that far back to win a league or division title. The Rockies (92-68) will need to win their two remaining games over the Dodgers (93-67) to accomplish that feat and clinch the first NL West title in franchise history.
One defeat and the comeback ends with Los Angeles celebrating its fourth division crown in six years and second in manager Joe Torre’s two seasons.
“I don’t think anyone’s worried too much,” Dodgers third baseman Casey Blake(notes) said. “We’re frustrated, but we’ve got a couple of games left before this thing’s over. It’s kind of brutal the way it’s going down.”
Colorado is 4-12 against the Dodgers and 2-5 in Los Angeles this season, and the Rockies haven’t won back-to-back games over their NL West rivals since Aug. 19-20, 2008, at Dodger Stadium.
“The first two months of the season, they beat us up, but they’re not beating us up now,” manager Jim Tracy said. “We still have a chance to win the division.”
Their scheduled starter for Saturday, Jorge De La Rosa(notes) (16-9, 4.45 ERA), has also never beaten Los Angeles in six career starts, going 0-5 with a 7.04 ERA. The left-hander is also 0-2 with a 5.74 ERA in three starts this season and 0-1 with a 0.79 ERA in two at Dodger Stadium.
De La Rosa, however, is the major league’s wins leader since earning his first June 5 and has posted a 3.32 ERA while winning seven of eight decisions since Aug. 10. His only loss in that span was a 3-2 defeat to the Dodgers at home on Aug. 27.
De La Rosa’s teammates have scored a combined 13 runs in his previous career starts against the Dodgers, but the Rockies have been the polar opposite of their NL West rivals at the plate.
The Dodgers, meanwhile, have been outscored 29-10 while hitting an abysmal .155. They’ve continued to struggle even as Manny Ramirez(notes) and Blake have returned to the lineup from nagging injuries.
After missing eight games with a strained left hamstring, Blake struck out four times Friday and Ramirez is hitless in his last 10 at-bats with eight strikeouts, including four on Friday.
The Dodgers have provided little support for Clayton Kershaw(notes) (8-8, 2.89), who hasn’t won since July 18, in the second half of this season. The left-hander is 0-3 with a 2.88 ERA over those 10 starts but has received 1.8 runs per game.
Despite a 2.60 ERA in his last three starts against the Rockies, Kershaw has one victory. He threw a one-hitter over five scoreless innings July 1 at Dodger Stadium and failed to get a win in a 1-0 victory.