The Los Angeles Dodgers opened the 2021 season with a four-game series at Colorado.
In a bit of symmetry, the reigning World Series champions will open the second half of the season in the same place.
Three days after the excitement of hosting the All-Star Game, the Rockies welcome Los Angeles for a three-game weekend series at Coors Field. The din of the Home Run Derby and another American League win in the main event has subsided, and now teams are getting back to business.
For the Dodgers that means continuing to chase National League West leader San Francisco. Los Angeles has won eight straight division titles, but the Giants have been in first place for most of the season and hold a two-game lead over the Dodgers.
Right-hander Walker Buehler (9-1, 2.36 ERA) will open the series for Los Angeles against Colorado’s Antonio Senzatela (2-8, 4.58 ERA).
Buehler is 5-2 with a 3.99 ERA in 17 games, 13 of them starts, in his career against the Rockies. He is 1-1 with a 4.78 ERA in eight games, six starts, at Coors Field.
This is just the third series this season in which the two teams have met. The Dodgers took three of the four games in early April and swept a three-game homestand about two weeks later. Buehler pitched the third game of that first series, allowing two runs on four hits in six innings but didn’t figure into his team’s 6-5 win.
Los Angeles brings an altered team to Denver this time. Ace Clayton Kershaw is sidelined with left-forearm tightness and won’t pitch in the series, and 2020 Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer is on administrative leave until at least July 27 for off-the-field issues.
The Dodgers have had to bring up younger players to fill in for injured or banged-up players, but the hope is that shortstop Corey Seager, out since mid-May with a fractured right hand, can return soon.
“He is going to go to Arizona while we’re in Colorado. He’ll take at-bats, simulated games, some games that will be going on down there,” manager Dave Roberts said before the All-Star break. “Once we finish that Colorado series, we’ll re-assess, see where he’s at physically and make a decision then. Right now, there’s no thought of a rehab assignment.”
Senzatela was roughed up by Los Angeles on April 2, lasting just 3 1/3 innings and allowing seven earned runs. He also gave up five runs (four earned) in 2.2 innings against the Dodgers on Aprul 13.
In his past four starts he has given up 10 earned runs in 24 innings (3.75 ERA) even though he hasn’t won since June 2 against Texas.
In 12 games — 10 starts — against the Dodgers, he is 3-5 with a 7.08 ERA in his career.
The Rockies had one player — pitcher German Marquez — in the All-Star Game on Tuesday, and manager Bud Black was an honorary coach and shortstop Trevor Story competed in the Home Run Derby.
Story reached the semifinals and now faces an uncertain stretch until the July 30 trade deadline.
“I am trying to stay in the present and not think about what could happen,” Story said Monday.
–Field Level Media