Still struggling to produce runs consistently on the road, the Colorado Rockies could use another strong outing from Juan Nicasio against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The right-hander, though, is coming off one of the worst outings of his career and will try to rebound from that effort Saturday night while handing the Dodgers a rare home loss.
Colorado (13-18) is averaging 5.1 runs this season but only 3.2 per game over its 13 road contests. The Rockies have scored four runs or fewer in all but two of those games but had a season-high six during a win in San Diego on Wednesday.
They couldn't build on that performance in Friday's series opener, a 7-3 loss, as they scored one of those runs over the first eight innings.
Former Rockies second baseman Mark Ellis homered and drove in a season-high three runs to help Los Angeles (21-11) improve its major league-best home record to 13-3. Andre Ethier also homered in a three-hit night and had a pair of RBIs for the NL West leaders.
The Dodgers have batted .333 and scored 23 runs during a 3-1 start to an eight-game homestand.
"Our approach was just to try to see something over the plate and be aggressive, but not so aggressive on stuff that's falling off the edge of the plate," Ethier said. "You've got to keep taking your hacks and not be discouraged if you're swinging through some of those pitches or even strike out."
Nicasio (2-1, 5.35 ERA) had a little better luck limiting the Dodgers on April 30, allowing two runs over six innings in a 6-2 home win. The right-hander, though, matched a career high in his next outing with six runs allowed during a 7-2 loss to Atlanta on Sunday.
"That's what happens when you don't have command of your fastball," Nicasio told the team's website about the difference between the two starts. "I missed the command of my fastball and I hung my breaking ball."
Nicasio has allowed one run in each of his two road starts this season but has yet to receive a decision.
While the Rockies starter is coming off one of his worst outings of the year, the Dodgers' Aaron Harang (1-2, 5.24) is looking to build on one of his best. The right-hander gave up a season-low two runs over six innings to the Chicago Cubs on Sunday but the bullpen couldn't hold on to a late lead during a 4-3 loss in 11.
Harang might not have much better luck Saturday as he's 0-3 with an 8.64 ERA in his last five starts against the Rockies and gave up five runs over 5 2-3 innings while being outdueled by Nicasio on April 30.
Colorado, though, has dropped eight of 11 at Dodger Stadium, and Nicasio gave up five runs over 5 2-3 innings in his only start there, an 8-5 loss July 25.
Ethier, the NL leader with 32 RBIs, is 4 for 7 with a home run in his career against the right-hander. Matt Kemp, 4 for 18 over his last six games, is 4 for 8 with two homers and a triple.
Carlos Gonzalez, batting .385 with five homers and 17 RBIs over his last 13 contests, is 5 for 10 all-time against Harang. Troy Tulowitzki has driven in 10 runs during his 20 at-bats versus the right-hander.