Dodgers turn to David Price against Rockies

National Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers figured a veteran left-hander would be key for their chances at defending their World Series title.

They just never imagined it would be this veteran left-hander.

David Price will return to the mound to start Saturday night in the middle contest of a three-game series against the Colorado Rockies. He is looking to help the host Dodgers rebound from a 4-2 loss to the Rockies on Friday, just their third defeat in their past 19 games.

Price (4-2, 3.82 ERA) took the loss Sunday in his most recent outing, but that doesn’t mean he failed to make progress, as he has pivoted from a reliever/spot starter this season into a full-fledged member of the rotation.

Despite giving up three runs in four innings to the New York Mets on Sunday, Price reached a season-best 75 pitches. And with his recent steady outings, he might stay in the rotation, even after the expected return of the club’s other noted left-hander: Clayton Kershaw.

In eight career appearances (five starts) against the Rockies, Price is 1-2 with a 4.76 ERA, the second-highest of any team he has faced at least eight times.

The Dodgers have tested their depth, using 37 pitchers already, with still more than a month remaining in the season. And yet the club entered Friday with an MLB-best 3.01 ERA.

“Obviously the talent and the depth is the main reason, and that speaks to baseball operations, player development and scouting,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “As far as the ERA, the performance, a lot of it is the coaching part of it, attacking weaknesses with their strengths and putting them in the right lanes to have success.”

The Rockies will send right-hander Jon Gray (7-10, 4.13) to the mound Saturday. He has struggled in August, going 0-4 in four starts with a 6.75 ERA.

In 19 career starts against the Dodgers, his second most against any team, Gray is 5-7 with a 4.36 ERA.

In the bullpen, Rockies manager Bud Black used Carlos Estevez in the closer role Friday, while Daniel Bard pitched in the eighth inning instead of the ninth. The strategy worked, as Bard was sharp in getting the ball to Estevez, who gave up a leadoff single to Mookie Betts in the ninth, then struck out the side for his third save.

“This was just a step back to exhale a bit,” Black said of Bard, who has two blown saves and a loss in his past five outings. “… He’s been, the last two years, one of our most reliable pitchers. I think there was just some things we needed to rework a little bit moving forward.”

On offense, the Rockies hit three homers Friday to account for all of their runs as they won for just the fourth time in 14 games against the Dodgers this season.

Charlie Blackmon’s first-inning home run was the 188th of his career, tying him with Troy Tulowitzki for seventh on the club’s all-time list. C.J. Cron’s go-ahead home run in the sixth was his ninth in August and his 23rd of the season. He also has an MLB-best 30 RBIs this month.

The Rockies were without shortstop Trevor Story on Friday after he left late in Wednesday’s road doubleheader against the Chicago Cubs with a strain in his leg.

–Field Level Media

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