Ready or not, Rockies’ Brothers must be right as he faces Dodgers
After a slump of about a week and a half, Rockies left-handed relief pitcher Rex Brothers appears to be in better sorts. In his last three appearances, he has thrown three scoreless innings with seven strikeouts, two hits and no walks.
Brothers will need to be at top form with the Dodgers invading Coors Field on Monday night for the opener of a three-game series.
Leading the Dodgers, whose 16-6 record matches 1981 for tthe best start in franchise history, is Matt Kemp, who has a franchise-record 11 April homers and is the early frontrunner for National League Most Valuable Player. In tight, late situations, manager Jim Tracy will not let Kemp beat the Rockes.
In close, late situations, expect Tracy to walk Kemp and let Brothers face Andre Ethier, who is no slouch with five home runs and 24 RBIs — which ties him with memp for the National League lead. Still, that left-on-left matchup is one the Rockies would rather have.
“The deal with Rex Brothers yesterday was to get him right or get him much closer,” Tracy said. “As a matter of fact, he might be there, but monitoring every pitch that he threw yesterday to make sure that there’s availability for this specific situation.”
When Tracy managed the Dodgers a few years back, Kemp was a top Minor League prospect who impressed him during some Spring Training cameo appearances. Kemp went through a difficult 2010 season, but last year he realized his potential and finished second to the Brewers’ Ryan Braun in National League Most Valuable Player voting. Tracy said Kemp should be proud of his growth.
“I tip my cap to the guy,” Tracy said. “When you have young kids that hang on everything that goes on at the Major League level and have an opportunity to identify with a player like this, both character-wise and physically, that’s refreshing.”
Tracy rested right fielder Michael Cuddyer for just the second time this season. Tyler Colvin started in right field. The lineup also has Jonathan Herrera hitting second and playing third base, because Tracy wants to give Chris Nelson a day off because he had fought through left wrist soreness last week. Tracy also said that at some point in the three-game series with the Dodgers, Herrera will start at second base and Marco Scutaro will rest.
Dee Gordon, SS (.207, 0 HR, 4 RBIs)
Mark Ellis, 2B (.247, 0 HR, 2 RBIs)
Matt Kemp, CF (.425, 11 HR, 24 RBIs)
Andre Ethier, RF (.277, 5 HR, 24 RBIs)
James Loney, 1B (.227, 1 HR, 6 RBIs)
Tony Gwynn Jr., LF (.242, 0 HRs, 2 RBIs)
A.J. Ellis, C (.277, 5 HRs, 24 RBIs)
Aaron Harang, RHP (1-1, 5.16 ERA)
Marco Scutaro, 2B (.247, 0 HR, 1 RBI)
Jonathan Herrera, 3B (.296, 1 HR, 3 RBIs)
Carlos Gonzalez, RF (.288, 4 HR, 16 RBIs)
Troy Tulowitzki, SS (.284, 3 HR, 11 RBIs)
Todd Helton, 1B (.270, 4 HRs, 16 RBIs)
Ramon Hernandez, C (.241, 4 HR, 12 RBIs)
Tyler Colvin, RF (.297, 1 HR, 6 RBIs)
Dexter Fowler, CF (.250, 4 HRs, 10 RBIs)
Juan Nicasio, RHP (1-0, 4.76 ERA)