A road trip that the Colorado Rockies figured would be key for their playoff prospects will reach the halfway point Sunday with the conclusion of a series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Following a 5-2 victory over the Dodgers on Saturday, the Rockies are feeling good about things, knowing that a much-elusive series victory at Los Angeles is within reach.
Before the victory, the Rockies had lost 17 of their past 18 games at Dodger Stadium, and 24 of their past 28 in the rivalry overall. The last time the Rockies won a series at Dodger Stadium was June 29-July 1, 2018.
Saturday’s victory wasn’t easy for Colorado. With the game tied 2-2 in the ninth inning, Nolan Arenado broke the deadlock with an RBI single, his first hit against the Dodgers all season.
The Rockies (19-20) will send right-hander Ryan Castellani (1-2, 4.81 ERA) to the mound in the rare Sunday night game that is not on national television. The 7:10 p.m. local start turned out to be fortuitous since the high temperature in Los Angeles on Sunday afternoon is expected to be 109.
After five starts earlier this season to begin his major-league career, Castellani had a two-inning relief appearance in his most recent trip to the mound. He didn’t give up a run and allowed two hits in two innings of work on Wednesday against the San Francisco Giants.
It will be Castellani’s first outing against the Dodgers, as well as his first time pitching in a road ballpark that does not have a retractable dome after outings at Seattle and Arizona. He has given up just two runs over 10 combined innings in his road starts this season.
Rookie starter or not, the Rockies like their chances. Rockies manager Bud Black has preached a positive attitude with an emphasis on looking forward, not back. After the stop in L.A., the Rockies head to San Diego. The Dodgers (30-11) and Padres are the only two teams ahead of them in the National League West standings.
“I can’t repeat myself enough,” Black told reporters. “Every game is a unique game. Tomorrow, we don’t know what’s going to happen. There’s no doubt about that.
“We’ve got to execute pitches. We’ve got to have good at-bats. We’ve got to make plays in the field. And if we do that, we’ll be in the game. And if we get some big hits and make some pitches, we’ll win the game.”
The Dodgers will counter with left-hander Julio Urias (3-0, 3.27 ERA), looking for more of what he delivered in his most recent outing. Urias is coming off a start against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday in which he gave up one run on four hits in six innings with no walks and five strikeouts. It was the third time in seven starts that he has pitched at least six innings.
If there has been an issue for Urias, it has come in the first inning, allowing seven runs. After he had a heart-to-heart with the coaching staff, Urias held the Diamondbacks scoreless in the first inning in his most recent outing.
“We mostly talked about attacking hitters,” Urías said in Spanish. “I felt really good, and I think that’s why things worked out.”
With just three weeks remaining in the regular season, the Dodgers appear ready to line up their rotation for the upcoming playoffs.
“For him to now spit out a good one and hopefully gain some traction with his next one on Sunday — we’re going to need him to pitch some big innings,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters.
–Field Level Media