DENVER — Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw will try to become the first pitcher to win 20 games against the Rockies when he opposes Colorado on Friday.
Kershaw and Hall of Famer Randy Johnson share the record with 19 victories apiece against the Rockies. In 34 career starts vs. Colorado, Kershaw is 19-6 with a 3.15 ERA. He has 239 strikeouts and 68 walks in 214 1/3 innings and has limited Rockies hitters to a .220/.283/.329 slash line.
This season, Kershaw (5-2, 2.40) has limited opposing batters to a .210 average (38-for-189), with 53 strikeouts and seven walks in 48 2/3 innings.
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At Coors Field, Kershaw is 8-4 with a 4.71 ERA in 18 starts, having allowed 16 homers in 109 innings. That is the most homers Kershaw has yielded in any ballpark other than Dodger Stadium.
In two starts against the Rockies this season, Kershaw is 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA. Colorado beat him 4-2 at Coors Field on April 8, a start in which Kershaw pitched six innings and gave up four runs on three home runs, and he surrendered back-to-back homers for the first time in his career. The consecutive homers were hit by Mark Reynolds and Gerardo Parra.
Like most batters, though, Reynolds has had limited success against Kershaw. He has gone 5-for-28 (.179) with the one homer — Reynolds said it was on an elevated fastball — three RBIs, two walks and 10 strikeouts.
“He’s got that slider-cutter thing, heater,” Reynolds said. “His curveball is devastating, obviously. You just hope he makes a mistake. That’s all you can do. Maybe he makes a pitch where he’s trying to get it in, leaves it middle. Or tries to go away and pulls it a little bit. Hopefully, you see something you can hit.
“Against a guy like that, you hope you scratch one (run) early. Hopefully get a walk or two. You’re not going to string many hits together against him.”
Rockies starter Tyler Chatwood (3-4, 4.74) is 4-6 with a 3.52 ERA in 11 career starts against the Dodgers. He hasn’t faced them this season, and he went 1-2 with a 3.75 ERA in four starts against them last year.
In his last start, Sunday against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Chatwood allowed one run on two hits and three walks in seven innings. He struck out five and was the winning pitcher in the Rockies’ 5-2 victory.
The Rockies increased their lead over the Dodgers in the National League West to 2 1/2 games with a 10-7 win Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series. It was Colorado’s fourth win in six games this season against the Dodgers and third in four games at Coors Field.
“We’re playing a team we’re chasing that’s playing good baseball — and it’s tough to play up here — so we want to win these games,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said before his team fell into a 10-0 chasm after four innings en route to the three-run loss. “I think these guys have got the best of us this season, so we want to play well.”