If it seems like the Rockies have had a lot of off days - they have. Colorado has played in just eight games thus far; only Washington and Cincinnati have played as few in all of MLB. Hopefully the added rest will be to their advantage as the open yet another road series, this time against the pre-season divisional favorites.
Los Angeles Dodgers (7-3, W5, t-1st in NL West)
Friday-Sunday : 3-game series at Los Angeles
As mentioned in a previous installment, the Dodgers project to have the best offense in the division - even better than Colorado. That has held up - they are 3rd in the NL in runs. It was their starting pitching that was supposed to be the weakness, but ten games in, the rotation looks solid.
Take a whiff of their rotation's rankings so far in 2009 in all of MLB:
Then again, San Diego, Arizona and San Francisco - their opponents thus far - are weak offensive teams.
After splitting a four game series with upstart San Diego, the Dodgers lost to Arizona with their fifth starter on the mound Since then, they have reeled off five straight wins and sit atop the division. In doing so, Los Angeles has recorded a +25 run differential, which is second in the major leagues to Toronto.
Today, 8:10pm MDT
The battle of the lefty wild cards: Randy Wolf has looked great so far - Jorge de la Rosa was shaky to say the least last Friday.
|2009 - Jorge De La Rosa||0-1||9.64||1.90||3||2|
|2009 - Randy Wolf||1-1||3.65||1.07||8||5|
Saturday, April 18, 1:40pm MDT
The battles of the pseudo-aces: Chad Billingsley has looked like a world-beater so far, but Aaron Cook is due for a good outing and will should enjoy a pitcher-friendly park.
|2009 - Aaron Cook||0-0||9.72||1.98||4||2|
|2009 - Chad Billingsley||2-0||2.08||0.85||15||4|
Sunday, April 19, 2:10pm MDT
The battle of the young righties: Ubaldo Jimenez tries to show it really was the cold that "threw him off" while James McDonald attempts to maintain his spot in the rotation.
|2009 - Ubaldo Jimenez||1-1||2.53||1.67||13||9|
|2009 - James McDonald||0-1||13.50||1.94||2||3|
This line-up has helped produce eleven more runs than any other NL West team so far.
When a team has a strong middle of the lineup, it's always scary when the other hitters come in hot. Orlando Hudson (.366/.353/.659), who whipped Frisco for a cycle Monday, is backing up RMN's unyielding pining for O'Dowd to sign him - he is leading the stacked offense in slugging. Seven-hole hitter Matt Kemp (.371/.410/.600) is off to a nice start, and 8-hole hitter Casey Blake (.200/.268/.486) leads LA in HR and RBI. Los Angeles is relying heavily on Jonathan Broxton (1.80 ERA, 0.20 WHIP, 3 SV) and Chad Billingsley (2-0, 2.08 ERA, 0.85 WHIP) this year, and both have responded.
Rafael Furcal (.244/.295/.366) and Russell Martin (.200/.317/.286) are starting slow out of the gates. Hong-Chih Kuo (0-0, 6.00, 1.33), Guillermo Mota (0-0, 8.10, 1.80) and Sunday's starter James McDonald (0-1, 13.50, 1.80) have struggled, but they barely combine for one game's worth of innings thus far.
Opening Day starter Hiroki Kuroda is already on the disabled list last Friday with a left oblique strain - he'll be eligible to return April 22 but will will need additional time before retaking the mound in Dodger blue. Infielder Tony Abreu will miss three to six weeks with a high ankle sprain.