Dodgers-Rockies Preview


Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw wasn't at his best in his latest outing but he's performed well in recent matchups with the Colorado Rockies.

The Dodgers haven't been as consistent against the Rockies.

Seeking a fifth straight win, Los Angeles hopes to shake its recent struggles against Colorado in Monday's series opener at Coors Field.

Kershaw (13-8, 1.72 ERA) had a three-game win streak snapped during his shortest outing in four months, a 3-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday. He gave up two runs, but needed 107 pitches to get through 5 2-3 innings and allowed seven hits, his most in 12 outings.

"You're never going to have your best stuff every game, so you've got to figure out ways to get some guys out regardless," said Kershaw, who also walked three. "There were too many guys on base, too many walks, too many times behind in the count."

Kershaw is 2-1 with a 1.74 ERA and 33 strikeouts in his last four starts against Colorado, including three this season. He tossed a four-hitter in his most recent visit to Coors Field on July 2, but was on the wrong end of a 3-0 loss July 12 at Dodger Stadium despite fanning 10.

Los Angeles is 6-7 against Colorado this season and has split its six games in Denver. It's unclear if the Dodgers will have Matt Kemp available for this series.

The Dodgers were hoping to get Kemp back from his rehab assignment Monday but manager Don Mattingly indicated they might give the outfielder more minor league at-bats. Kemp was 0 for 11 with five strikeouts in his first three games with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga.

The Dodgers (81-55) might be fine without him for a while as they have a stacked outfield with Carl Crawford in left, Andre Ethier manning Kemp's usual spot in center and star rookie Yasiel Puig in right.

Puig hit his 14th home run to lead Los Angeles to a 2-1 victory and a sweep of San Diego on Sunday.

The Rockies (65-73) have won two of three over each of their last three opponents, including playoff contender Cincinnati this past weekend. Colorado, batting .319 in its last six games, had 12 hits in Sunday's 7-4 victory.

Michael Cuddyer had four of those hits, homered and drove in three runs while Todd Helton recorded his 2,500th career hit.

"It took me three days to get it. ... I started feeling a little bit of the pressure, so it's a relief. I can go out and play and relax and finish this year with a bang," Helton said.

Rookie right-hander Chad Bettis will try to help the Rockies keep rolling by earning his first major league win. Bettis (0-3, 4.80) gave up four runs and a career-high nine hits in six innings of a 5-3 loss to San Francisco on Tuesday.

Recently acquired infielder Michael Young is the only Dodgers player to have faced Bettis, going 0 for 3. Young, acquired from Philadelphia on Saturday, is expected to meet his new teammates Monday and will likely come off the bench for Los Angeles.

Helton has gone 17 for 39 (.436) while hitting safely in 13 of his last 14 games against the Dodgers. The Rockies, though, likely won't have Dexter Fowler for this game as he's dealing with a bruised left knee.

Fowler's absence could help Kershaw as he's batting .421 (16 for 38) against the left-hander, the best average of any player who's had 25 or more matchups.

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