Rockies-Dodgers Preview

The Associated Press

Charlie Blackmon has the highest batting average in the majors and picked the perfect spot to add to his totals in surging Colorado's previous game.

Blackmon will try to build on his clutch performance Saturday night and help the Rockies to their longest road win streak over the Los Angeles Dodgers in almost six years.

Blackmon, a carer .307 hitter, is batting .398 predominantly out of the leadoff spot.

The outfielder has 10 hits over his past six games, connecting for four homers with eight RBIs and 11 runs. He came through again Friday in the opener of this three-game set, driving in Brandon Barnes for the go-ahead run in a 5-4, 11-inning win.

Blackmon, who later stole second and scored one of the Rockies' three runs in the inning, got his hit off left-hander J.P. Howell and will now face another when Paul Maholm (0-2, 5.60) takes the hill for the Dodgers on Saturday.

"He hits lefties well," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said of Blackmon. "Other than the guys that are considered the wipeout left-handers, he gets the (at-bats)."

Troy Tulowitzki, second to Blackmon with a .380 average, is 12 for 24 with four homers, 11 RBIs and nine runs over the past seven games. He's driven in five runs while homering in each of the last three, including a solo shot Friday.

Colorado (13-11) has won six of eight and is in position for its first four-game winning streak at Dodger Stadium since June 3-Aug. 20, 2008.

Handing the ball to Juan Nicasio (2-0, 4.30 ERA) on the road could help, especially at Chavez Ravine. The right-hander has a 1.54 ERA over his last four starts there, winning the past two while tossing 12 1-3 scoreless innings. He struck out seven batters in 5 1-3 innings of a 1-0 win at Los Angeles (13-11) on Sept. 28.

That's part of Nicasio's six-start unbeaten stretch on the road, during which he's gone 3-0 behind a 1.85 ERA. He won his only outing as the visitor April 15, yielding two runs in six innings of a 3-2 victory at San Diego.

Nicasio, though, followed that five days later with his worst performance of the season, surrendering season highs of five runs and two homers in five innings of a 10-9 home defeat to Philadelphia.

Los Angeles has dropped four of five, partly due to a 5.06 ERA from the bullpen.

The relievers may need to improve on that since Maholm is 1-8 with a 6.63 ERA in 10 career starts against the Rockies, losing six straight starts behind a 9.00 ERA while serving up a .374 batting average and seven homers.

Maholm struggled early Monday, giving up two runs in the opening inning before surrendering three more and leaving after the fifth in a 7-0 loss to Philadelphia. He tossed a season-high 107 pitches in just his third start in six appearances this year.

"It was frustrating just going through a long first inning, battling, not having your stuff, and doing everything possible to get deep into the game," Maholm said.

Maholm has struggled greatly versus Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez.

Tulowitzki is 10 for 22 with four doubles and two homers off him, while Gonzalez is 6 for 14 with a pair of doubles and two homers.

The Dodgers' Yasiel Puig has six hits over the past four games, and half have gone for extra bases. He homered on one of his two hits Friday and had two RBIs.

What to Read Next