Dodgers fizzle at Coors Field and are swept by Rockies; magic number still 2
With the Dodgers having been swept in three games by the last-place Colorado Rockies and no closer to the division title than they were the day before, A.J. Ellis forced a smile.
“Have we ever done anything easy in your time watching us?” Ellis asked.
The magic number for the Dodgers to win the National League West remained at two Sunday, when they lost for the seventh time in nine games, this time by a score of 12-5 at Coors Field.
The Dodgers will next play a four-game series in a stadium where they have failed to win a single game this season: AT&T Park, home of the second-place San Francisco Giants.
A win in any of the four games would secure the Dodgers’ third consecutive division title.
The Dodgers will conclude the regular season with a three-game series at Dodger Stadium against the San Diego Padres.
“We’re in a good spot,” Manager Don Mattingly said. “There would be a lot of teams that would trade spots with us right now.”
Especially because Zack Greinke is scheduled to pitch Monday in the series opener against the Giants. He will be followed in the rotation by Clayton Kershaw.
“We’ll take our chances,” Ellis said.
Alex Wood, the losing pitcher Sunday, said the three-game sweep at Coors Field should serve as a “real big wake-up call.”
“It’s pretty embarrassing to get swept this late in the year,” Wood said. “I think that if you look at the two teams and you know nothing about baseball, you would have guessed the Rockies were heading to the postseason and we weren’t.”
Like Mike Bolsinger and Brett Anderson before him, Wood was thrashed by the Rockies. He pitched 5 1/3 innings and was charged with eight runs and 11 hits.
Bolsinger allowed seven runs (four earned) in four innings Friday in the series opener. Anderson was pounded for six runs in four innings Saturday.
Ellis said he believes one of the keys to pitching at Coors Field is to limit contact, to prevent hitters from driving the baseball into the stadium’s spacious outfield.
“You have to have some swing-and-miss pitches in your arsenal,” Ellis said. “All three guys are definitely capable of having them. Unfortunately in this series, we weren’t able to produce a lot of swings and misses.”
Wood had only one strikeout.
With a left-hander Chris Rusin starting for the Rockies, the Dodgers fielded an overwhelmingly right-handed-hitting lineup that included Scott Van Slyke at first base, Alex Guerrero at third, Chris Heisey in right field and Justin Ruggiano in left.
The plan worked for the first three innings, as the Dodgers took a 4-2 lead.
They started to unravel in the fourth inning, when the Rockies loaded the bases with one out.
Wood got DJ LeMahieu to hit a grounder to Guerrero, who recorded a force out at second. Howie Kendrick attempted to turn a double play, but couldn’t. A run scored and the Rockies now were down only 4-3.
Nolan Arenado, who hit a grand slam the previous night, then deposited a full-count fastball by Wood into the left-field bleachers. The three-run home run moved the Rockies in front, 6-4.
“Probably the only pitch I wish I had back,” Wood said.
The Rockies extended their advantage to 9-4 in the sixth inning, when Wood, Pedro Baez and J.P. Howell combined to give up three more runs.
Wood (11-12) said he was confident the Dodgers would win the division over the next four days.
“It’s time to turn it on,” he said. “I think we will.”
So did Ellis.
“We still know where we’re going, we still know what the plan is and what lies ahead of us,” Ellis said. “The road’s gotten a little bumpy here, the last week or so. But we still see the finish line.”
Greinke (18-3, 1.65 ERA) will face San Francisco right-hander Jake Peavy (7-6, 3.83) on Monday at 7:15 p.m. at AT&T Park. TV: SportsNet LA; Radio: 570, 1020.
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