Rockies shoot for rare success against Dodgers

Nothing seems to bother the Los Angeles Dodgers when they play against the Colorado Rockies.

Los Angeles has won 14 of its past 18 matchups with Colorado, including a 9-5 victory in Denver on Monday. The Dodgers will try to extend that trend when they face the Rockies in the second contest of a four-game series on Tuesday.

The Dodgers will send right-hander Walker Buehler (1-4, 4.64 ERA) to face Rockies left-hander Austin Gomber (1-4, 4.26).

Buehler, who will oppose Colorado for the second time this season, was saddled with the Dodgers’ lone loss during a three-game home series vs. the Rockies in late May. He yielded four runs (three earned) in six innings.

Buehler is still working his way back from Tommy John surgery that cost him part of the 2022 season and all of 2023.

In three of his past four starts, he tossed at least 88 pitches. However, working at altitude could keep him from going deep into the Tuesday game. Buehler has opposed Colorado 21 times, including 17 starts, going 7-3 with a 4.19 ERA.

The Dodgers won Tuesday night without Mookie Betts in the lineup — and it will be awhile before the seven-time All-Star is back. Betts is expected to miss six to eight weeks after sustaining a fractured left hand on Sunday, an injury that created a void at the top of the lineup.

Manager Dave Roberts solved that issue Monday night by moving Shohei Ohtani into the leadoff spot and batting Will Smith to second, the spot where Ohtani usually has batted this season.

“I don’t expect Ohtani to change,” Roberts said. “I don’t expect Will to change. Ohtani has hit leadoff in his career, so I felt comfortable that it’s a position he’s known before.”

Ohtani went 3-for-5 with a walk, two runs and an RBI in the series opener. Smith went 1-for-5 with an RBI triple and a sacrifice fly.

The task of holding down the Dodgers’ bats falls to Gomber. The lefty hasn’t had any success against Los Angeles in his career, going 0-4 with a 6.00 ERA in eight appearances (seven starts). He took a loss at Dodger Stadium on June 2 when he allowed three runs on five hits in three innings.

Gomber is coming off one of his worst outings of the season, when he gave up eight runs and a career-high-tying 11 hits in three-plus innings during a 17-9 loss at Minnesota on Wednesday.

It continued a trend in June for Gomber. He has allowed 15 runs and 22 hits in 11-plus innings (12.27 ERA) over three starts this month after he posted a 0.68 ERA in four May outings.

“I feel the same (as) I did a month ago,” Gomber said after the loss to the Twins. “I’m just not making as good of pitches right now, and some things that were going my way are not going my way right now. That’s part of the game.”

The Rockies’ lineup, meanwhile, remains inconsistent. Colorado managed just two hits in seven innings against Los Angeles starter James Paxton on Monday before erupting for four runs in the ninth, but that was after falling behind by eight.

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