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May 30, 2024 6:28 pm

Walker Buehler, Dodgers out to extend Rockies’ road woes

Buehler Dodgers

One late-inning rally earlier this week seems to have the Los Angeles Dodgers back on track, with a return home set for Friday against the Colorado Rockies.

The Dodgers were amid a season-worst five-game losing streak and staring at a sixth in a row in the opening game of a doubleheader Tuesday. But they rallied for a run in the ninth inning on a bunt from the struggling Chris Taylor against the New York Mets, then won the game in 10 innings.

The Dodgers not only went on to sweep the doubleheader but swept a three-game series and now return home where they are 19-11. They have the second-most home victories in the National League.

Los Angeles cleanup hitter Will Smith had a pair of home runs in Wednesday’s 10-3 victory at New York. There also was production from the bottom of the order with 10 of Los Angeles’ 16 hits coming from the last four spots of the lineup.

Even with that late lineup production, at the start of MLB play Thursday, the Dodgers had a .265 on-base percentage from the No. 6 spot (25th in baseball), a .262 OBP from the No. 7 spot (27th), a .252 OBP from the No. 8 spot (29th) and a .269 mark from the No. 9 spot (17th).

“There’s been a lot of talk obviously about the bottom of the order,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “You can see when they’re taking productive at-bats, getting hits, taking walks, good things happen.”

At the top of the order, the Dodgers not only received Smith’s power outburst, Shohei Ohtani went deep for the first time since May 17 as he has played through a nagging hamstring injury.

The Dodgers are expected to send right-hander Walker Buehler (1-2, 4.26 ERA) to the mound for his fifth start since a comeback from a second Tommy John surgery. Buehler, who last faced the Rockies in 2022, is 7-2 with a 4.17 ERA in 20 career appearances (16 starts) against Colorado.

The Rockies enter off a successful homestand during which they won series over the NL-best Philadelphia Phillies and the Cleveland Guardians, who had won nine in a row entering the series.

Colorado now hits the road where it is 7-21, the lowest number of victories away from home in the NL.

Colorado is set to send right-hander Dakota Hudson (1-7, 5.54) to the mound Friday. Hudson started the season 0-6 with a 6.35 ERA but has gone 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA in his past three starts.

Against the Phillies on Saturday, Hudson kept the Rockies in the game by allowing two runs on five hits through six innings but the bullpen was unable to continue the momentum in an 8-4 defeat.

“(Hudson) made some big pitches when he needed to (with) one walk in six innings,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “Pretty efficient with less than 90 pitches. It was one of his better outings for sure against arguably one of the best teams in baseball.”

He will face another top offense, given the Dodgers lead the NL in home runs with 75, even with their bottom-of-the order issues.

Over six career appearances (two starts) against Los Angeles, Hudson is 1-1 with a 2.50 ERA.

–Field Level Media

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