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The Colorado Rockies and Los Angeles Dodgers beg
18-05-2019 03:17 AM
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The Colorado Rockies and Los Angeles Dodgers beg


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DENVER — in a pivotal three-game series Friday with the Rockies looking to widen their lead in the National League West.The Rockies began their current 10-game homestand with a series sweep against the San Francisco Giants and have won five straight games. That surge has carried them from 1 1/2 games behind in the division to leading it by that same 1 1/2-game margin over the Dodgers.The Rockies (77-62) , who are in their 26th season, have never won the division and are assured of leading the NL West Friday after playing their 140th game, which is the latest in franchise history that they have been in first place. In the 144-game strike-shortened 1995 season, the Rockies were in first place after 139 games.Article continues below ...Jon Gray (11-7, 4.70 ERA) will start for the Rockies and ace left-hander Clayton Kershaw (6-5, 2.40) will take the mound for the Dodgers (76-64), who are beginning a 10-game trip that will also take them to Cincinnati (three games) and St. Louis (four).The Dodgers just dropped two of three games to the New York Mets to close out a 4-3 homestand and have scored more than three runs in just one of their past eight games.If save situations arise for the Dodgers this weekend, they can’t call on closer Kenley Jansen. He did not accompany the team to Denver after suffering an irregular heartbeat there last month. Jansen was advised by a cardiologist to avoid Denver, where the mile-high altitude increases the risk of another atrial fibrillation episode. After suffering a similar episode in 2012 and undergoing an offseason ablation operation to repair it, Jansen has said he likely will need another operation this winter and told reporters the decision to miss this series was an easy one.“At the end of the day, I have three children, and I want to see them get old and graduate and all that stuff,” Jansen said. “That’s what doctors do for a living; they take care of you. That’s what I got to do. I got to care about my health.”Kershaw gave up four hits and two runs in seven innings Saturday in a no-decision against Arizona, a game the Dodgers won 3-2. He has allowed two or fewer earned runs in eight straight starts, going 3-1 with a 1.94 ERA in that stretch and allowing three walks and 43 hits, including five homers, in 55 2/3 innings with 49 strikeouts.Kershaw hasn’t faced the Rockies this season. He is 21-7 with a 3.22 ERA against them in career 38 starts, winning more games against the Rockies than any team other than the Giants (22 wins). At Coors Field Alcides Escobar Jersey , Kershaw is 9-4 with a 4.65 ERA in 20 starts.Gray won Saturday at San Diego, where he allowed two runs in six innings in Colorado’s 4-2 victory. In nine starts since returning from Triple-A Albuquerque, eight of which the Rockies have won, Gray is 4-0, 3.08.The Rockies have gotten sizable production recently from shortstop Trevor Story and are hoping third baseman Nolan Arenado can end his slump in this series. Story, who hit three homers Wednesday against the Giants, including a 505-foot shot that is the longest in Rockies history and the longest in the Statcast era that began in 2015, is hitting .298 with a .920 OPS and 31 homers, 95 RBIs and 25 stolen bases. He’s 12-for-24 in his past six games with five homers and 10 RBIs.Arenado is hitting .297 with 31 homers, 93 RBIs and a .929 OPS. But he has hit two homers since Aug. 5, and in his past nine games, Arenado is 4-for-35 (.114) with one double and three RBIs.“Nolan cares as much as anybody I’ve been around about this organization and winning for this organization,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “Right now, he’s just a little uncomfortable at the plate and that can turn quickly. But you combine that with maybe trying a little bit too hard and maybe putting too much pressure on himself because of the expectation of (being) Nolan Arenado. That sort of works against you.” Some legends were elected, and Zach feels a personal connection to a few in particular"During the fall of 2001, my Aunt and I made A Cooperstown pilgrimage to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame. Kirby Puckett had just been enshrined the previous summer, we were both on a break from school (she as a teacher, me as a student) , so the time seemed right. As an enormous fan of the history of baseball even as an adolescent, I was basically awed by the entire experience. I also somehow found it appropriate to wear a Minnesota Vikings sweatshirt and #11 Daunte Culpepper cap for the occasion (I do miss that hat, though...Pep was my guy): Grid View (Quick story: The morning we are to get up and spend the day at the HOF, the deadbolt of our hotel room door gets stuck and will not retract. Long story short, hotel management literally ends up using a battering ram to break down the door and let us out. One of the most bizarre sequences of events I’ve ever been a part of.)Each January, I’m always excited to see who the BBWAA deem worthy of HOF inclusion. Recently, it has been even more fun to see guys I vividly remember playing get the bronze plaque treatment (i.e. I’m now old). Here are my thoughts on this year’s class, complete with a Twins-related twist...Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty ImagesOn July 2, 2013, my Dad and I got to see Mariano Rivera record a save in his final season. In front of 38,457 onlookers at Target Field, C.C. Sabathia had out-dueled P.J. Walters (not a mismatch AT ALL), Trevor Plouuuuuuufe homered, and Ichiro hit a double (his Dark Empire years) as the Yankees took a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth. After getting Clete Thomas to ground out to start the final frame, Mo did allow a single to Chris Parmelee—pinch hitting for Pedro Florimon—who was then immediately pinch-run for by Eduardo Escobar. It wouldn’t matter, however, as EE never moved off 1B while Rivera K’d Brian Dozier and got Joe Mauer to lift a lazy pop fly to short to end the game.I’m glad Rivera was the first unanimous selection, as this graphic really says it all...Now Jorge Soler Jersey , on to the non-unanimous selections...Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty ImagesUpon his retirement, I always considered Mike Mussina to be a fringe candidate for the Hall. I don’t mind that he’s in and his numbers are solid, but he probably wouldn’t have gotten my vote. I’m not exactly sure why this is, considering he posted these stats against the Twins over the course of his career: 22-6, 230.1 IP, 3.09 ERA, 1.168 WHIP. Basically, he pitched very much like a legitimate HOF-er against the Twins whether as an Oriole or a Yankee.Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty ImagesWhen I began intensely following the Twins in the mid-1990s, they were not a playoff team (understatement of the week/year/century). Because I wanted to root for a team in the postseason, for a few years my pick was the Seattle Mariners (I’ll be honest: mainly because Ken Griffey Jr. was my favorite individual player at the time). Tertiarily following the M’s, though, allowed me to realize what a tremendous batsman Edgar Martinez was. Two seasons of 50+ doubles, three seasons over 40, a lifetime .312 batting average and .933 OPS. I know he didn’t play much defense, but those offensive numbers speak for themselves.I’ll argue he was long-overdue for a plaque.Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty ImagesI don’t really have a Twins-related anecdote for Roy Halladay other than to say this: He was my go-to ace starter in fantasy baseball for many seasons, and just one of my overall favorites. From roughly 2002-2011, Doc was easily one of the top five pitchers in his respective league at any time (and probably closer to first than fifth). He topped 200 innings 8 times—usually blasting by it with marks like 220 or 230—and once led all major league staters in complete games for five consecutive years. It’s a shame his death in 2017 prevented him receiving the honor himself. At least his family will be able to honor his baseball legacy this summer.Up next on the 2020 ballot: Derek Jeter and everyone else.
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