After a disappointing four-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies, the Los Angeles Dodgers return to NL West play and host the Colorado Rockies for the first of a three-game set on Friday.
Josh Beckett starts for the Dodgers as he looks to begin the weekend series on the right foot. The 33-year-old has made three starts this season, earning a no-decision in each of them. Beckett’s last outing, a five-inning, seven-strikeout effort against the Arizona Diamondbacks, was his strongest of 2014.
Beckett battled through multiple injuries suffered in Spring Training and a rehab start in the early stages of the season, and now appears to have built up his stamina and should manage to produce another productive start for the Dodgers. Considering the amount of work the bullpen has accrued this season, it would be beneficial if Beckett is able to go more than five innings.
The Dodger starter is going to face a Rockies lineup that is without Michael Cuddyer, but with Carlos Gonzalez. The Rockies left fielder has a career .333 average against Beckett in three at-bats. Given the majority of Beckett’s career has been spent in the American League, the hitters he will be facing on Friday have limited experience against him. Justin Morneau, who has faced Beckett the most among the Rockies, is a career 4-for-16 with one home run.
Starting opposite Beckett is young right-hander Jordan Lyles. The 23-year-old is 3-0 this season with a 3.04 ERA. Lyles is coming off a seven-inning performance in which he didn’t allow an extra-base hit or an earned run to the Phillies. The Rockies are 3-1 in games Lyles has started this season, with their lone loss coming in a start where Lyles pitched just five innings. This is Lyles first season with the Rockies, having spent the first three of his MLB career with the Houston Astros.
Similar to the Rockies’ situation with Beckett, the Dodgers who are in Friday’s lineup have little to no experience against Lyles. Matt Kemp and Hanley Ramirez each have three career at-bats against the right-hander. Kemp is 2-for-3 with a home run and Ramirez is 3-for-3, also with a homer and three RBIs.
Perhaps as an effort to spark the bottom of the order, manger Don Mattingly has Carl Crawford batting sixth. It’s the first time Crawford has hit sixth since 2011 and he’s lower than the second spot for the first time since 2012. In the ever shuffling outfield, it’s Andre Ethier’s turn to sit.
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