Rockies trying to make most of unusual 6-game set

October 1st, 2022

LOS ANGELES -- Friday night’s opener of an unusual six-game series against the now-confirmed best team in the Majors was especially cruel to the Rockies. So ravenous was the Dodger Stadium crowd, it booed for daring to cap his three-hit night by scoring the Rockies’ only run in a 10-1 rout.

“I’m just trying to play a game the right way,” Rodgers said, breaking into a grin that was absent in the clubhouse of a team that just absorbed its 10th loss in the last 11 games.

Are there going to be many more smiles over the next five days? The Dodgers are at a franchise-record 109 wins. With 65 wins, the Rockies have avoided the franchise low (64 in 2012), but they would love to find a few more.

For Rodgers, if the team can’t find victory, he can take his from being on the field healthy. He returned Thursday after missing nine games with a left hamstring strain. The ninth-inning double, after which he advanced to third and home on consecutive fly balls, was more to him than merely a run that kept the Rox from losing in double figures.

Before going 3-for-3, Rodgers had batted 5-for-64 (.078) since Aug. 25. He had hit .350 (43-for-123) over his previous 31 games.

“After I’ve been out for 10 days, it’s not only a test for me but the trainers to see how I’m moving,” Rodgers said. “On two deep fly balls, I had the confidence to reach third and home. I pushed it, and it felt good running. That’s what I was going for in that situation.”

Nothing could be done about the schedule. When the lockout delayed the start of the 2022 slate, what was supposed to be the season-opening series was simply moved to the tail end. So instead of three at Chavez Ravine, it’s six.

“I guess this was the only time to squeeze it in, which made sense,” said Rodgers. “But six straight against a team like this is pretty tough. It’s a great squad over there. We’ve got some building to do."

Righty escaped trouble in the first inning, but his night unraveled after a Cody Bellinger homer during a fourth inning he never finished (six runs on eight hits in 3 1/3 innings). Then, a largely young lineup came nowhere close to a winning combination.

“It’s frustrating, for sure,” manager Bud Black said. “Guys are frustrated themselves. As a group, it’s been hard. You want to get the hit. You want to be a guy that knocks in the run. There’s maybe a little bit of an effort level beyond what we really need to do. We’ve got to stay calm and compact. A lot of times, our guys are trying so hard to get it done. That works against you.”

Rodgers said, “That’s the way the game goes. That team is having a really good season and we’re not playing our greatest right now. But it’s something to build from and learn from. We’ve got a lot of new faces, guys that are definitely going to help us be a winning team.”