Saturday, September 29, 2012
The Los Angeles Dodgers know they need help to claim the NL's final playoff spot, but it won't mean anything unless they take care of their own business.
Luckily for them they've gotten hot at the right time.
Los Angeles looks to win five straight games for the first time in more than two months when it hosts the Colorado Rockies in the finale of a three-game set Sunday.
The Dodgers (83-75) followed up an 8-0 win in the series opener with a 3-0 victory Saturday, pulling to within two games of the league's second wild card after St. Louis lost 6-4 in 10 innings to Washington.
Los Angeles ends the regular season with three home games against West champion San Francisco, while the Cardinals finish by hosting Central champ Cincinnati.
Matt Kemp hit solo homers in the fourth and eighth innings Saturday for the Dodgers, who last won five straight July 18-23.
"Right now we have to find a way to sneak into those playoffs," Kemp said. "We're both going to be playing good teams next week, so it's going to come down to the end. We've just got to keep going out there and playing hard and see where we end up."
Los Angeles has scored 27 times during its winning streak, but it hasn't consistently provided that sort of run support for Josh Beckett since acquiring him from Boston.
Beckett (1-3, 3.16 ERA) has received two or fewer runs in five of his six starts with the club, and he didn't get any while giving up two runs -- one earned -- and striking out seven in 5 2-3 innings of a 2-1 loss to San Diego on Tuesday.
Both of his walks were to leadoff hitters in the fourth and fifth innings, and each ended up scoring. The right-hander is winless in his last four starts.
"I beat myself," Beckett told the team's official website. "That's kind of how you feel when you walk the leadoff guy in back-to-back innings and both score."
Tyler Colvin, who was scratched from Saturday's game with a sore elbow, was the first batter Beckett faced in a Dodgers uniform, and Colvin greeted him with a homer to lead off the game Aug. 27. Beckett ended up allowing three runs and striking out six in 5 2-3 innings of a 10-0 loss to the Rockies.
Colorado (62-96) set a new franchise high for losses with Saturday's defeat, surpassing the mark set in its 1993 inaugural season and matched in 2005.
The Rockies haven't plated a run in their last 23 innings.
Colorado will send Jorge De La Rosa to the mound for his third start since returning from Tommy John surgery that kept him out for nearly 16 months.
De La Rosa (0-1, 9.45) hopes this one is more efficient after giving up six runs in 3 2-3 innings of a 9-2 loss at San Francisco on Sept. 20 and allowing four runs -- two earned -- in three innings of Colorado's 10-5 win over the Cubs on Tuesday.
"You don't expect him to be pinpoint sharp," manager Jim Tracy said. "You want to see him throw pain-free, which he is doing."
The left-hander has never beaten the Dodgers, posting a 5.98 ERA in eight starts and four relief appearances. The Rockies have lost all 12 games against Los Angeles in which De La Rosa has appeared.