Major League Baseball

Dodgers send Maeda to finish sweep of Rockies

ROCKIES (40-36) AT DODGERS (53-25)
4:10 p.m. ET; SNLA, ATTSN-RM, MLB.TV

The Colorado Rockies have discovered that just because the Los Angeles Dodgers have been to two consecutive World Series, they’re not content to rely on old heroes.

On consecutive nights, a different Dodgers rookie has played hero in a three game-series at Dodger Stadium. On Friday, the day Matt Beaty was brought back to the majors, he smacked a walk-off home run. On Saturday, Alex Verdugo topped Beaty with two home runs, including the game-ender in the 11th inning.

It is the first time in major league history that a pair of rookies have ended consecutive games with home runs, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

The Dodgers will go for the sweep Sunday afternoon more than willing to let somebody new step into the spotlight. Perhaps somebody with a longer track record takes charge.

Holding Joc Pederson, Justin Turner, Max Muncy, Cody Bellinger and Chris Taylor to one combined RBI, like the Rockies did Saturday, does not mean you are in the clear. Verdugo’s confidence seems to have been building all season. Now he has a moment to go with his aggressive style of play.

“This guy loves the big moment, he really does,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “He doesn’t run from it. He wants to be the guy who gets showered with Gatorade after games. To have a young player with that kind of confidence, who’s not afraid to fail, with his talent and energy … it couldn’t have ended better for us.”

The Dodgers are not only 2-0 in the current series, they are 5-0 in the season series against the Rockies. As good as Colorado has been while recovering from a brutal 3-12 start, the Rockies still haven’t figured out the Dodgers.

Right-hander Kenta Maeda (7-4, 3.87 ERA) will pitch for the Dodgers on Sunday. If there is a weak link in the Dodgers’ rotation, Maeda would be it, but the Dodgers have been keeping his outings in check in an attempt to prevent trouble from striking.

Maeda has pitched more than five innings just once in his last five starts, with one clunker in that stretch. On June 11 against the Los Angeles Angels($12), he went only 4 1/3 innings, giving up five runs on three hits and three walks.

Maeda has fared well against the Rockies through his career, going 6-3 against them with a 2.26 ERA in 16 outings (nine starts). The six victories are tied for his most against a team (Padres).

The Rockies will counter with right-hander Antonio Senzatela (6-5, 5.09), who is coming off a victory against the Arizona Diamondbacks($9) when he gave up one run over 6 2/3 innings.

Twice in his last six starts, Senzatela has given up eight earned runs in an outing, but in the other four he has not given up more than two earned runs, including three outings in June when he allowed just one earned run.

In three career appearances against the Dodgers (one start), Senzatela is 1-0 with a 6.43 ERA.

While the late defeats could have a demoralizing effect, Rockies manager Bud Black was insistent that the first two games of the series contained plenty of positives.

“We’re playing right with them,” Black said, according to The Athletic. “These games come down to the end. What more can you say? From our end, we want to win these games. But we can play with them.”

–Field Level Media

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