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Dodgers vs. Rockies preview: Game times, TV schedule, live streaming info, matchups and more

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Rockies return to Coors Field to face, and possibly overtake, the NL West-leading Dodgers.

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Rockies return home from a 3-3 road series to face the current NL West leaders, the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Rockies are still close enough in the standings that if they can manage a sweep of the Dodgers this weekend they will be back in first place on Sunday.

Jon Gray is making his 2016 debut after an abdominal strain injury at the end of spring training. After some rest and two dominant rehab starts at Modesto featuring some 99 mph fastballs, Gray is ready to start Friday night's game.

Tyler Chatwood and Jordan Lyles will be starting the other games of the series and both are hoping to continue to build on their impressive previous starts. Whether or not this trio of young pitchers is able to pitch well at Coors Field, this weekend will not just determine the outcome of this series but also give Rockies fans a better idea of what to expect for the rest of the season.

The Dodgers enter Coors Field having won their last three series against the Diamondbacks, Giants and Braves. Though not as dominating as one might expect from a team with the salary of the Dodgers, they are still playing solid baseball that's good enough to lead the NL West in the early stages of this season.

Dodgers Power Rankings

Good: Bullpen

The majority of the Dodgers bullpen has been nails so far this season. Kenley Jansen seems to have put whatever hurt feelings he may have had about the Dodgers trying to find a new closer behind him and is once again one of the best closers in baseball. The bullpen's downside has been a slight propensity to giving up home runs and some big innings.

Good: Rotation

After the Dodgers chose to go with quantity over quality this offsesason, they now have a rotation that has both some really good pieces and some struggling ones. Clayton Kershaw is still Clayton Kershaw and Ross Stripling has had a great MLB debut. However, the Rockies are missing both of those guys this series and instead will be facing Scott Kazmir and Alex Wood in two of the three games. Both Wood and Kazmir have struggled so far this season and their lack of success is dragging down what could have been a great rotation.

Average: Lineup

If you're simply looking at WAR contributions, the position players for the Dodgers grade out well as they are fifth in the majors in fWAR.  However, all of that value is coming from defensive contributions that this early in the season are quite volatile and not necessarily accurate. If you look at just the offensive production, the Dodgers have a combined wRC+ of 94, good for a ranking of 18th. Factor in the seventh highest team BABIP of .315 and one could argue that the Dodgers are even lucky to be only six percent worse than league average.

Who to watch: Hitter

At 37 years old Chase Utley appears to be turning back the hands of time. It's not just luck either as one might assume with his BABIP of .356 as a career-high line drive percentage of 31.1 actually justifies that. Time will only tell now if Utley is back to the hitter that he once was, or if his age will cause him to wear down during the season and turn back into the black hole of offense that he was last year.

However, Utley's bat isn't the reason you need to watch him; it's his slides. Utley didn't have the greatest sliding reputation going into the postseason last year, but his takeout slide of the Mets' Ruben Tejada caused MLB to actually change the rules of baseball because of how bad it was. Also it seems like Utley hasn't learned anything from that -- and why should he since his suspension was overturned -- as he began this season with another dirty slide that thankfully Derek Norris managed to avoid. So for the sake of Rockies defenders let's hope that the Rockies pitchers can keep him off the base paths.

Who to watch: Pitcher

Kenta Maeda gambled on himself when he signed one of, if not the most, incentive-laden contracts in the history of sports. Maeda's contract checks in at eight years and $25 million. However, it has over $10 million in incentives per year if Maeda can start 30 games and pitch 200 innings each season. That's right, over $80 million in incentive over the course of the contract.

Maeda made quite the impression in his MLB debut as he pitched six shutout innings and also hit a home run. Since then, he's made two more starts totaling another 13 innings and only one earned run. With this being the first time that everyone is seeing Maeda in person don't be surprised if there are some awkward swings the first time through the lineup before hitters start to get comfortable with him. In the first three innings of his starts, Maeda's allowing a .464 OPS, which climbs to .600 in the next three innings.

Game times, TV, probable pitchers (all times Mountain)

Friday, April 22, 6:40 p.m.: Scott Kazmir vs. Jon Gray
TV: ROOT Sports; Streaming: MLB.TV; Radio: 850 KOA,1150 KNRV (Spanish)

Saturday, April 23, 6:10 p.m.: Kenta Maeda vs. Tyler Chatwood
TV: ROOT Sports; Streaming: MLB.TV; Radio: 850 KOA,1150 KNRV (Spanish)

Sunday, April 24, 2:10 p.m.: Alex Wood vs. Jordan Lyles
TV: ROOT Sports; Streaming: MLB.TV; Radio: 850 KOA,1150 KNRV (Spanish)

For more information, check out the best source for Los Angeles Dodgers news, True Blue LA.