|Rockies try to solve Dodgers in start of 4-game set|
The Los Angeles Dodgers have owned the Colorado Rockies the past two seasons, and it was never more apparent than the three-game series the teams played in Southern California last weekend.
Three games, three Dodgers wins, all coming on walk-off home runs. That's the backdrop of the four-game series between the teams that starts Thursday in Denver.
Colorado has lost 11 straight to Los Angeles dating back to last season, including a showdown in Game No. 163 last October that determined the division winner.
The Rockies aren't frustrated by their inability to beat Los Angeles. They're more frustrated with not closing out games when they have held the lead against the Dodgers.
"We came in here ready to go, and they beat us pretty good," Colorado third baseman Nolan Arenado said after the Sunday loss at Dodgers Stadium. "At the end of the day, we have to finish games. The good teams finish them. If we want to get to where we needed to go. we have to win those."
The Rockies will have to figure out Los Angeles starter Walker Buehler if they don't want to make it 12 straight losses to their divisional rival.
Buehler (8-1, 2.96 ERA) has made 12 appearances, eight starts, against Colorado in his three-year career and is 3-1 with a 2.84 ERA. He was dominant in last weekend's series opener, throwing his first complete game in the majors and registering a career-high 16 strikeouts in a 4-2 win.
Colorado will start rookie Peter Lambert to the mound. The 22-year-old right-hander made his major league debut earlier this month and has been solid in three of his four starts, going 2-0 with a 5.85 ERA.
Lambert allowed three runs in five innings against the Dodgers on Saturday. It is his only appearance against Los Angeles, and it came after his worst outing so far.
In the start against the San Diego Padres on June 16, he allowed eight runs in just three innings at Coors Field.
Colorado is returning home after a nine-game road trip that would have been wildly successful if not for the Dodgers. The Rockies swept three from the Arizona Diamondbacks and took two out of three from the San Francisco Giants.
Los Angeles, meanwhile, is running away from everyone else in baseball. The Dodgers, who are 55-27 after an 8-2 loss at Arizona on Wednesday, on pace to win 109 games. It is clear they're not feeling the hangover of losing to the Boston Red Sox in the World Series last fall, which was an issue after they dropped the Fall Classic to the Houston Astros in 2017.
"There are a lot of good teams out there, and you have to continue to play," Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw told ESPN. "I think after last year, we maybe came in determined to not get off to that slow start again. There's probably something to that."
Overall, the Dodgers seem more focused this season than last year.
"We understand the ultimate goal, but we also realize that there's nothing we can do about the end of October right now," Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts told ESPN. "That's the hardest thing to do -- to get talented teams and players to just live in the moment."
--Field Level Media