They’re the team that many baseball experts have picked to be a possible breakout team in 2017 — the Colorado Rockies. The Dodgers begin a three-game set with the could-be NL West spoilers on Friday, which is also Colorado’s home opener. The Rockies are sporting the same record as the Dodgers at 3-1. They are in their first year being managed by Bud Black, who most recently was with the San Diego Padres. It’s the Dodgers’ first game at Coors Field since the infamous Andrew Toles grand slam comeback game in August of last year.
Friday’s game will feature the return of Hyun-Jin Ryu to the mound. After two injury-riddled years, he has worked his way back into the Los Angeles starting rotation. Coors Field will be a test for Ryu, in his second start since 2014. Manager Dave Roberts said that 80-90 pitches would be the goal for the 29-year-old left-hander.
Facing off against Ryu will be another lefty, one of two the Rockies will be throwing against the Dodgers. Denver native Kyle Freeland will be making his major league debut. Freeland was the Rockies’ first-round pick, eighth overall, in the 2014 draft. Last year at Triple-A Albuquerque, he logged 12 starts with a 3.96 ERA. He ended spring training with 20-2/3 innings pitched, 19 strikeouts and a 3.48 ERA. He also can do a little damage at the plate, driving in four RBI in spring training.
Saturday’s game will feature Clayton Kershaw against right-hander Jon Gray. In his first start this season, Gray cruised through the first four innings before getting tagged for five runs in the fifth frame. In the five starts that Gray made against the Dodgers last year, the Rockies won three of them.
Sunday’s matinee will pair Kenta Maeda against another southpaw, Tyler Anderson. The Dodgers did not get much offense going against Anderson last year, as the then rookie had a very good 1.83 ERA against his division rivals. Anderson gave up five runs in 5-2/3 innings pitched in his first start this year against the Milwaukee Brewers, surrendering one homer while striking out eight.
The Rockies are no slouches on the offensive side, especially at Coors Field. Currently, first baseman Mark Reynolds is leading the team in most categories, with three doubles, two homers, a .467 batting average and a 1.596 OPS. Perennial stars Gerardo Parra and Nolan Arenado have started the season hot, batting .400 and .357, respectively.
Not off to a great start are outfielders Charlie Blackmon and Carlos Gonzalez. So far in the young season they are both only batting .125. Blackmon has made the most of his two hits, however, driving in two runs and stealing a base.
Friday’s game time is slated for a 1:10 p.m. PST start time. Saturday’s game will be at 5:10 p.m., and Sunday’s game is scheduled for 1:10 p.m.
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