Winner takes the NL West: Previewing Dodgers, Rockies game No. 163

Sep 30, 2018; Denver, CO, USA; General view as a Colorado Rockies fans holds a sign in reference to playing the Los Angelos Dodgers during the game against the Washington Nationals in the eighth inning at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The National League West is so competitive that after the grueling 162-game season that baseball throws at every franchise, it’s tied in the NL West and a game No. 163 tiebreaker is needed to reveal a division title winner.

The Rockies will travel to Chavez Ravine after losing the head-to-head season series to the Dodgers (7-12) with first pitch scheduled for 2:09pm MST.

The Pitchers

The Rockies will throw German Marquez at the Dodgers who has had success against the Dodger blue in 2018. LA will counter with Walker Buehler.

Marquez comes into the game 2-0 against the Dodgers this year. His 2.57 ERA in 21 innings also is accompanied by 22 strikeouts on only five walks.

Marquez’s most recent appearance against the Dodgers was June 30th, in which he hurled an absolute gem, striking out nine batters on his way to an eight inning, two-hit, one run performance. That said, Marquez has yet to face the new look lineup for Los Angeles, who made moves to acquire several names before the trade deadline, including Manny Machado and Brian Dozier.

Meanwhile, Walker Buehler also comes into game No. 163 with success against his opponent. Buehler’s last 20 innings thrown have been very good, including six of them against the Rockies on September 19th.

Buehler has struck out 26 batters, while only allowing two runs in his last 20 innings pitched. Certainly a pitcher that has the attention for the Rockies.

“He throws hard. He has late-life to his fastball. He throws good cutters, good curveball,” David Dahl said Sunday night after the Rockies 12-0 win over the Washington Nationals to clinch a game No. 163.

“We just got to go up there and battle and be ready to hit. Hopefully he makes some mistakes and we execute and capitalize on it.”

The Lineups

Both Colorado and Los Angeles absolutely put on a show offensive against their respective opponents on Sunday. The Dodgers offense was impressive in their 15-0 win over the Giants, scoring seven runs via timely hits here and there before finally hitting their first home run of the game. The Dodgers scored on hits, wild pitches and forced errors by a Giants team who was trying their best to eliminate their hated rival.

Colorado on the other hand had the long-ball working. Nolan Arenado belted two home runs in Colorado’s 12-0 win over the Nationals at Coors Field Sunday. Charlie Blackmon also got involved in the home run parade, that etched his name into the record books when Blackmon completed his first-career cycle, the ninth in Rockies history.

Both pitchers are sure to have their hands full Monday night when high-octane offenses go swinging for the fences with the division on the line.

Momentum

Colorado flies to Los Angeles as one of the hottest teams in baseball, winners of nine of their last ten. After scoring runs in bunches against the Nationals, Colorado will look to continue that hot hitting and shake off the woes from their previous trip to Los Angeles, which saw Colorado get outscored 16-6 in the losing sweep.

How big is home-field advantage? 

Colorado traveling to Los Angeles is a big deal in the game, especially considering Colorado finished 3-6 against LA in Los Angeles in 2018, while the Dodgers have won five of their last six at home.

Colorado does own the fourth-best road record in the National League, however trips to Chavez Ravine are no easy task. Dodgers starter Buehler owns a 2.52 ERA, striking out 85 batters in his 71.1 career innings at home.

Something to consider

As first pitch approaches, something to consider in the game. Dodgers starter Buehler has thrown 31.2 innings in the day. His ERA in that time is 5.68, while his night ERA is far better at 2.33.

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