The Los Angeles Dodgers are on their longest losing streak of the season and without their best hitter again.
The Colorado Rockies are missing a big bat of their own, but Carlos Gonzalez is the driving force behind their surge.
Chris Capuano will try to quiet Gonzalez and the Rockies as the Dodgers attempt to avoid a fifth consecutive defeat in the opener of this three-game series at Coors Field on Friday night.
Los Angeles (32-19) owns the best record in baseball but has dropped six of eight after being swept in a four-game set by Milwaukee following Thursday's 6-2 defeat.
Getting back into the win column won't be easy with Matt Kemp sidelined again. The All-Star center fielder is expected to miss at least a month after he was placed on the 15-day disabled list Thursday. He re-injured his left hamstring Wednesday night while running the bases in his second game back from the disabled list.
"We were 9-5 without Matt the first time," said Tony Gwynn, who will see the bulk of the playing time in center field in Kemp's absence.
Kemp's presence will be especially missed in Colorado (21-29), where he's hitting .400 with four homers and 10 RBIs in his last 11 visits.
The Rockies are missing a productive bat of their own in All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who went on the DL Thursday because of a strained left groin. Tulowitzki was hitting .389 with four homers and 11 RBIs in nine games before getting hurt.
"I don't think it's anything structurally bad. However, he's very sore and very tender," manager Jim Tracy said.
Gonzalez is doing more than his share to pick up the slack, hitting .447 with seven homers and 14 RBIs in 11 games. He's 13 for 22 while connecting for six home runs and driving in 10 in the past five.
That's a big reason why Colorado is on a season-high four-game winning streak, which continued with Thursday's 11-5 victory over Houston. Gonzalez had three hits, including a double and three-run homer, tying a record by homering in four consecutive plate appearances.
"I don't play for records. Records just happen," he said. "I'm happy I'm part of a record, but at the same time I'm not thinking about anything else. The only record I look for is our team record."
Gonzalez has a .435 average with 10 homers and 28 RBIs in 33 career home games against the Dodgers, who will send Chris Capuano (7-1, 2.14 ERA) to the mound.
Capuano is one win shy of tying Philadelphia's Cole Hamels and Lance Lynn of St. Louis for the major league lead. The left-hander has won his last two starts, yielding two runs and six hits with 13 strikeouts in 13 innings.
He beat the Rockies on May 11, allowing one run and four hits in seven innings of a 7-3 win. Capuano, however, is 0-3 with a 4.58 ERA in his last three starts at Coors Field.
The Rockies will give Josh Outman (0-1, 9.64) his first start against the Dodgers as he tries to make a case for a spot in the rotation after Jamie Moyer was designated for assignment Wednesday.
Outman's pitch count will be limited to around 50 in his first start since a loss with Oakland against Texas on Sept. 11. The southpaw went 8-7 with a 3.78 ERA in 25 career starts with the A's.