It will be a tough task for the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday night as they face off against the Los Angeles Dodgers and best pitcher in baseball Clayton Kershaw. The Rockies will counter with fellow lefty Tyler Anderson against a Dodgers lineup that has seen its share of struggles against left-handed pitching over the past two seasons.
Kershaw, a 29-year-old southpaw, is coming off an absurd four-year stretch in which he's gone 65-23 with a 1.88 ERA (194 ERA+), just 1.5 walks per nine innings, and 10.4 strikeouts per nine innings across 816 innings. The next closest pitcher to him in ERA+ during that time frame (min. 500 innings pitched) is Jake Arrieta's 144 ERA+, nowhere remotely close to Kershaw. So far in 2017, Kershaw has a 2.53 ERA across three starts, with only one walk to 22 strikeouts. In his two home starts -- the Rockies got after him to the tune of four runs on eight hits in six innings earlier this year at Coors Field -- he has a 1.17 ERA and 16-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Needless to say, the Rockies' lineup will have their work cut out for them.
The Rockies will counter with a lefty of their own in 27-year-old Tyler Anderson. The former first round pick has gotten off to a rough start in 2017, with an 8.59 ERA and four home runs allowed in his first three starts. That's the bad news. The good news is he's coming off an impressive rookie season in which he had an outstanding 3.54 ERA with peripherals to match and is facing a Dodgers club that has struggled mightily against lefties. Since the beginning of the 2016 season, their 79 wRC+ as a team (not counting pitchers) against southpaws is the worst in baseball, and in theory it should provide Anderson with a good opportunity to get back on track.
For the Rockies, Gerardo Parra returns to the lineup for the first time since April 12th after missing some time on paternity leave. He was horrid against lefties in 2016, with a .258/.273/.361 slash line in 100 plate appearances, but has surprisingly been very good against Kershaw in his career with a .364/.417/.606 slash line in 36 plate appearances.
Los Angeles, on the other hand, is running out what one most certainly would not describe as their "A" lineup. Occupying the seventh and eighth spots in the batting order, respectively, are center fielder Brett Eibner and second baseman Chris Taylor, both making their 2017 debuts. Eibner struggled to the tune of a .193/.266/.353 slash line (65 wRC+) in 208 plate appearances in 2016 split between the Kansas City Royals and Oakland Athletics, his only time spent in the big leagues. Taylor is marginally more seasoned, with a .234/.289/.309 slash line (69 wRC+) in 318 plate appearances throughout parts of the 2014-16 seasons with the Dodgers and Seattle Mariners.
A win for the Rockies tonight would tie them for their second best 16-game start to a season (1995 and 1997) at 11-5 and would also tie them for their best 10-game road start to a season (1997 and 2011) at 8-2. In addition, it would be their first win at Dodger Stadium in a game started by Kershaw since July 12, 2013.
|COLORADO ROCKIES||LOS ANGELES DODGERS|
|Charlie Blackmon - CF||Enrique Hernandez - 3B|
|DJ LeMahieu - 2B||Corey Seager - SS|
|Nolan Arenado - 3B||Yasiel Puig - RF|
|Carlos Gonzalez - RF||Adrian Gonzalez - 1B|
|Mark Reynolds - 1B||Yasmani Grandal - C|
|Gerardo Parra - LF||Scott Van Slyke - LF|
|Trevor Story - SS||Brett Eibner - CF|
|Dustin Garneau - C||Chris Taylor - 2B|
|Tyler Anderson - LHP||Clayton Kershaw - LHP|