Dodgers hope to escape Denver with split vs. Rockies

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Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has been involved in some wild games, including as a player when the Boston Red Sox came back from down 0-3 to win the 2004 ALCS against the New York Yankees.

But even those games don’t compare to what he has witnessed in Colorado.

“I’ve seen some crazy ones, and the top 10 are probably all here,” Roberts told reporters after Friday’s loss to the Rockies in Denver.

The Dodgers have to survive just one more game at Coors Field before heading back to Los Angeles. Colorado and the Dodgers play the last of a four-game series on Sunday, with right-hander Kenta Maeda going against Rockies righty Chi Chi Gonzalez, who is making his Coors Field debut.

The Rockies have won two of the first three games of the weekend showdown, which has been more a battle of attrition than traditional baseball. The teams have combined for 50 runs in the first three games, although only eight runs were scored Saturday night in Colorado’s 5-3 win.

Maeda (7-4, 3.76 ERA) will make his 11th career start against the Rockies and 18th appearance overall. He is 6-3 with a 2.30 ERA when facing Colorado, and he has fared well at hitter-friendly Coors Field, going 5-1 with a 3.00 ERA in nine games, six of them starts.

He also earned one of his three career saves against Colorado. He’ll be facing a Rockies lineup that — before Saturday — had put up at least eight runs in six straight home games, all of which were needed because the opponents had also scored eight or more runs in the last five of those games. It was the first time a team has combined to do both for five straight games at home since 1894.

Gonzalez (0-1, 5.40) hopes he can hold L.A.’s potent lineup down in his second career appearance against the NL West leaders. Gonzalez allowed two runs on five hits over 8 1/3 innings the only time he has faced the Dodgers, and that came with the Texas Rangers in L.A. on June 16, 2015.

He made only three starts in 2016, then missed all of 2017 after having Tommy John surgery and pitched in the minors last year before Colorado signed him to a minor league deal in December. He joined the team last week and took the loss at San Francisco in his Rockies debut on Tuesday.

Gonzalez pitched well enough in that game to earn another start. He could get an extended look while Kyle Freeland is working out his issues in the minors.

“He’s progressing with some of the directives we talked about (such as location and pitch mix), and he’s working on those in Triple-A,” Colorado manager Bud Black said of Freeland. “Overall, the progress has been positive. … We continue to keep our eye on him because we know what he can do for us.”

Another solid outing from Gonzalez, who was a first-round pick by Texas in 2013, could keep him in the rotation until at least the All-Star break.

“He’s a thinking man’s pitcher,” Black said. “The fact that he was such a high pick out of college years ago, that tells you something. And here he is, many years later, trying to rejuvenate a career that at one point was really looking promising until the injury.”

–Field Level Media



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