Late-season surges have traditionally propelled the Colorado
Rockies into the playoffs. In the closing weeks of 2010, they’ve
spiraled out of postseason contention.
A day after being officially eliminated, the Rockies attempt to
win for just the second time in 10 games and avoid being swept by
the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday.
Colorado (83-74) surged within one game of the NL West lead
after beating the Dodgers (77-81) on Sept. 18. That victory was the
Rockies’ 13th in 15 games – a run reminiscent of their 14-1 surge
to conclude 2007, leading to their first NL pennant.
They went 20-11 down the stretch in 2009, claiming the wild card
for the second time in three years.
Colorado is ending on a different kind of run this time, with
eight losses in its last nine games. The Rockies saw their playoff
hopes officially end with Tuesday’s 9-7 loss to Los Angeles.
“We’ve been losing a lot lately because we haven’t played well,”
outfielder Seth Smith said. “Great teams who are not playing well
find ways to win games.”
Avoiding a three-game series sweep to the Dodgers may be a tall
order with the Rockies scheduled to face Clayton Kershaw (13-10,
The 22-year-old left-hander is 4-0 with a 2.03 ERA in his last
nine starts against Colorado, with three of those victories coming
this season. He’s faced the Rockies five times this year, all
resulting in wins for the Dodgers.
Kershaw’s teammates, however, bailed him out in his most recent
outing against the Rockies – a 7-6, 11-inning win Sept. 19 in Los
Angeles. He allowed six runs – four earned – in four innings before
the offense overcame a five-run deficit and won on A.J. Ellis’
He was much sharper five days later at Arizona, yielding one run
and four hits with nine strikeouts in eight innings of a 3-1
Kershaw has a career-high 212 strikeouts, the most for a Dodger
since Chan Ho Park had 218 in 2001. His total is also the highest
for a lefty on the club since Fernando Valenzuela collected 242 in
“It’s cool,” Kershaw told the team’s official website. “It’s
definitely something of a benchmark to get to every year.”
The Rockies will give the ball to their own 22-year-old starter
– rookie Jhoulys Chacin (9-10, 3.26).
The right-hander is 4-1 with a 1.20 ERA in his last seven
starts, but was the hard-luck loser in Friday’s 2-1 defeat to San
Francisco. He fanned eight in seven innings, but allowed both of
the Giants’ runs on a homer by Pat Burrell in the seventh.
“You learn something every game,” Chacin told the Rockies’
official website. “Veteran guys are looking for something. You
throw it, they’re not going to miss.
“But I feel really good. I just experienced that. I’ll
Chacin is 3-2 with a 2.73 ERA in six games – five starts –
against the Dodgers. He’s allowed one run over 15 innings to win
his last two starts against them, including a 12-2 victory Sept. 18
at Chavez Ravine.