The Los Angeles Dodgers haven’t swept a series at home this season, but giving the ball to Clayton Kershaw should improve those chances.
Kershaw looks to continue his dominance of the Colorado Rockies at Chavez Ravine and help the Dodgers clinch their most successful homestand of 2014 on Wednesday night.
Los Angeles (39-34) owns one of the worst home records in baseball at 17-20. However, the Dodgers are hitting .315 and have won four of five heading into the finale of this six-game homestand.
They can cap that stretch with their first series sweep at Dodger Stadium since winning three games against San Diego from Aug. 30-Sept. 1.
Strong pitching has been key against Colorado (34-37). Zack Greinke allowed one run in six innings of Tuesday’s 4-2 victory after Hyun-jin Ryu did the same in a 6-1 win to open this set.
The Rockies are hitting .221 in the series, and Kershaw (6-2, 2.93 ERA) has limited them to a .195 average at home. Colorado had hit .325 during its five-game winning streak before being shut down in the last two games.
The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner is 5-2 with a 1.58 ERA and 71 strikeouts in 62 2-3 innings over 10 career home starts versus the Rockies, and eight have ended in Dodgers wins.
Kershaw beat Colorado on the road in a 6-1 win June 8, when only the weather was able stop his dominance. He threw a three-hitter and fanned nine in a rain-shortened, five-inning complete game.
He followed that up five days later by allowing one run and struck out seven in seven innings of a 4-3 victory over Arizona, extending his winning streak to three games.
Kershaw last won four straight starts from July 29-Aug. 15, 2012.
Hanley Ramirez, however, may not be available to help him since he’s nursing a bruised right ring finger after being hit by a sharp grounder Tuesday. X-rays were negative, and he left in the seventh after hitting a two-run homer in the third.
”That’s great news for us. We obviously dodged a big bullet,” catcher A.J. Ellis said. ”Hanley’s probably the biggest part of our lineup when we’re going right. He carried us last year, and I feel like he’s getting close to that point where he can carry us again. He’s definitely one of the best bats in all of baseball, and we’ll be happy to get him back whenever he’s ready.”
He has six hits – three for extra bases – and four RBIs during this homestand.
Turning to Jorge De La Rosa (6-5, 4.12) may not get the Rockies untracked. He’s 0-2 with a 5.87 ERA in three starts after winning six consecutive decisions over a seven-start span with a 1.80 ERA.
The left-hander’s latest outing, however, was cut short after three innings due to a back injury. He allowed two runs with two walks in three innings of Friday’s 7-4 win at San Francisco.
"It felt like something was definitely really bad, but I came in (to the training room) and had some treatment, then I was better," De La Rosa told the team’s official website.
De La Rosa gave up five runs with eight strikeouts in 5 1-3 innings in losing to Kershaw on June 8. He had won each of his previous three starts against the Dodgers with a 2.25 ERA and limited them to one run in seven innings of a 6-1 victory at Los Angeles on April 27.