Launching Pad: Rockies must contend with Ethier, Dodgers this weekend

What to expect in the major leagues today:

Andre Ethier was one of the many Dodger thorns in the Rockies' side last season.
Andre Ethier was one of the many Dodger thorns in the Rockies’ side last season.

Kick ’em when they’re down

The Rockies’ late-season surge in 2009 — what had been a six-game deficit on Sept. 26 was trimmed to a single game by Oct. 2. — earned them the wild card but not the NL West title, which went to the Dodgers. Things would have been different if the Rockies hadn’t gone 4-14 against the Dodgers last season, and that is why they would love to make a statement at Dodger Stadium this weekend. To do so, Colorado must find a way to contain Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier, who hit .349 with five homers and 18 RBIs in 17 games against it last season. Meanwhile, the Dodgers would like to continue their mastery of the Rockies and escape the NL West cellar.

Tamed Tigers

The Tigers brought a five-game winning streak to Target Field earlier this week and had a chance to claim sole ownership of first place in the AL Central. However, Detroit was swept out of Minnesota and must claw its way back toward the first-place Twins. Good news for the Tigers: They will open a three-game series at Cleveland tonight. Detroit is 3-0 against the last-place Indians this season, and Jeremy Bonderman, tonight’s starter, held Cleveland to one run in five innings for his only win of the season. Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera is 4-for-9 against Indians pitching this season and 12-for-22 in his past six games overall.

A’s want to be the Rays

The first-place A’s will welcome the first-place Rays this weekend, and Oakland would love to make a Tampa Bay-like run from worst to first this season. However, the A’s will have to pitch better than they did last week at Tropicana Field, where the Rays outscored them 18-9 in a two-game sweep. Oakland hitters struck out 21 times in that series.

What to expect in the major leagues today:

Andre Ethier was one of the many Dodger thorns in the Rockies' side last season.
Andre Ethier was one of the many Dodger thorns in the Rockies’ side last season.

Kick ’em when they’re down

The Rockies’ late-season surge in 2009 — what had been a six-game deficit on Sept. 26 was trimmed to a single game by Oct. 2. — earned them the wild card but not the NL West title, which went to the Dodgers. Things would have been different if the Rockies hadn’t gone 4-14 against the Dodgers last season, and that is why they would love to make a statement at Dodger Stadium this weekend. To do so, Colorado must find a way to contain Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier, who hit .349 with five homers and 18 RBIs in 17 games against it last season. Meanwhile, the Dodgers would like to continue their mastery of the Rockies and escape the NL West cellar.

Tamed Tigers

The Tigers brought a five-game winning streak to Target Field earlier this week and had a chance to claim sole ownership of first place in the AL Central. However, Detroit was swept out of Minnesota and must claw its way back toward the first-place Twins. Good news for the Tigers: They will open a three-game series at Cleveland tonight. Detroit is 3-0 against the last-place Indians this season, and Jeremy Bonderman, tonight’s starter, held Cleveland to one run in five innings for his only win of the season. Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera is 4-for-9 against Indians pitching this season and 12-for-22 in his past six games overall.

A’s want to be the Rays

The first-place A’s will welcome the first-place Rays this weekend, and Oakland would love to make a Tampa Bay-like run from worst to first this season. However, the A’s will have to pitch better than they did last week at Tropicana Field, where the Rays outscored them 18-9 in a two-game sweep. Oakland hitters struck out 21 times in that series.

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