09/18/10 11:09 PM ET
Tulowitzki leads Rox vs. Dodgers in finale
By John Schlegel / MLB.com
Troy Tulowitzki's ridiculous final-month performance continued with a pair of homers and a double on Saturday, and he leads the Rockies, winners of 11 of their past 13 games, into their finale at Dodger Stadium hoping for a sweep.
Whatever the temperature at Dodger Stadium might be at game time, it'll be hot vs. hot in the first inning as lefty Clayton Kershaw takes the mound to face Tulowitzki and Co. Jason Hammel gets the nod for the Rockies.
Coming off the best performance of his young career, a four-hit shutout of the Giants on Tuesday, Kershaw enters Sunday's game having put together a pretty solid September himself, with a 1.64 ERA in three starts, but only a 1-2 mark to show for it.
Said Dodgers GM Ned Colletti: "[Kershaw's] advancement has been one of the highlights of the year."
If past performance is any indication, a pitcher finally may have been found who can actually get Tulowitzki out. The sizzling shortstop is a mere 1-for-16 against Kershaw for his career.
But Tulowitzki isn't alone in his struggles vs. Kershaw this year, as Kershaw has gone 3-0 with a 1.04 ERA in four starts against the Rockies this year. He has a career-high 192 1/3 innings and is tied for second in the league with 201 strikeouts. With one more K, he'll have the most for a Dodgers pitcher since Chan Ho Park had 218 in 2001.
Meanwhile, Tulowitzki enters the game having hit 14 homers in the month of September, the most by a Rockies hitter in any month, and has four multi-homer games in his past 10. His 33 RBIs for the month are just one off the club mark for a month with 11 games remaining.
Before Saturday's game, Rockies manager Jim Tracy was still marveling over Tulowitzki's first-inning homer Friday night off a Hiroki Kuroda pitch that was up in his eyes.
"Come on, it came off there like a two-iron," Tracy said. "A ball that gets into the seats, it almost went up into the loge section, and it's there really fast. So if you're going to say 'Oh my you-know-what,' you better say it fast, because you won't get the last part out before it lands."
Rockies: Rotation will stay on turn
Tracy said on Saturday that the Rockies will keep their starters on their regular rest next week, or, more specifically, that ace Ubaldo Jimenez will not be brought back on three days' rest next weekend against the Giants after pitching Wednesday in Arizona. "I really believe the question is well taken, the significance of the situation is completely understood," Tracy said. "But with the workload that we've given this guy up to this point, I really think that's pushing the envelope way too hard, as far as I'm concerned." ... The Rockies take an MLB-best 39-14 record in day games into their Sunday afternoon finale.
Dodgers: Pitching edge takes a hit
Prior to Saturday's game, the Dodgers had won 11 of their last 16 home games against the Rockies, thanks in large part to a 2.54 ERA and a .199 average allowed. Saturday's game, which saw the Rockies score 12 earned runs on 14 hits, increased those totals to a 3.08 ERA and a .210 average over 17 games. ... The Dodgers will commemorate the 30th anniversary of Fernando Valenzuela's debut on Sunday, which is actually a few days after Sept. 15, the date he made his 1980 debut.
After Sunday's finale, these two teams will be right at it again in another week for three games at Coors Field, Sept. 27-29. The series is even at seven wins apiece with four games to play.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.