Sport Rockies chasing 1st division title in tight NL West race

17:51  14 september  2018
17:51  14 september  2018 Source:   ap.org

Kershaw efficient, Dodgers pull closer to 1st-place Rockies

  Kershaw efficient, Dodgers pull closer to 1st-place Rockies Clayton Kershaw threw six effective innings, Kenta Maeda finished the ninth in place of All-Star closer Kenley Jansen and the Los Angeles Dodgers crept closer to the NL West-leading Colorado Rockies with a 4-2 win. Yasiel Puig homered and had an RBI single for the Dodgers, who climbed within a half-game of the Rockies as they began a pivotal three-game series. This is the latest into the season the Rockies have been alone in first place since 1995.BOX SCORE: DODGERS 4, ROCKIES 2Kershaw (7-5) baffled the Rockies even if he didn't have his best stuff.

DENVER (AP) -- Opposing managers Dave Roberts and Bud Black are close friends. Star infielders Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt talk all the time.

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Just maybe not so much right now.

This NL West title chase is serious business and shaping up to go down to the wire. Colorado holds a 1 1/2-game lead over Los Angeles and stretched its margin to 4 1/2 over Arizona by taking three of four this week. The Rockies are aiming for their first division title in franchise history.

''I expected us to be in this position,'' Arenado said . ''I thought we had the type of players who could do something like this.''

Typically, Dodgers left-hander Rich Hill doesn't start looking at the standings until mid-September. He made an exception after his win over the Rockies on Sunday, just to see where things stood.

It's scoreboard-watching season.

''We have a beautiful scoreboard out there,'' Rockies manager Black cracked. ''We have to have that heightened focus we've had all season long. I don't think you ratchet it up any higher. You keep it at a nice level of intensity with the focus but yet loose in your body to perform. I think our guys are in a pretty good spot.''

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This marks the latest in a season Colorado has been alone in first place since 1995.

''It's what you grew up dreaming about, having a chance to win the division and play important games like this,'' Rockies shortstop Trevor Story said. ''For me, though, it's trying not to do too much. Just play within myself and that will be enough.''

The Dodgers have 10 NL West titles since Colorado entered the league in 1993, while the Diamondbacks have five since '98. The Rockies finished just behind Arizona in 2007, when they beat San Diego in a tiebreaker game for a wild-card spot and advanced to their only World Series appearance.

Following a 7-3 homestand, Colorado embarks on a nine-game trip, including three in Los Angeles and three more in Arizona. The Rockies finish up with seven in a row at home against Philadelphia (four) and Washington (three).

Los Angeles started a four-game set Thursday night in St. Louis with a win against a Cardinals team trying to get into the postseason. Then, the Dodgers play only division opponents the rest of the way.

What happens if the Rockies, Dodgers and Cardinals finish with the same record?

  What happens if the Rockies, Dodgers and Cardinals finish with the same record? There's a scenario that could see the Rockies playing five games in five days in five different cities.Entering play Monday, though, the Rockies, Cardinals and Dodgers all have exactly 82 wins. The Rockies, at 82-67, hold a half-game lead over the Dodgers in the West, and Los Angeles and St. Louis currently sport identical 82-68 records and a claim to the second NL wild-card spot.

The Diamondbacks have the toughest stretch of the three. They still play a series in Houston against the reigning World Series champions and host a Chicago Cubs team that's trying to win the NL Central.

''Pretty much every game for us, the Dodgers and the Rockies has been a playoff game in September,'' said Goldschmidt, whose Diamondbacks team is 3-9 this month. ''You don't get this opportunity that often. It should be a fun end to the year, for whatever team comes out on top.''

Arenado and Goldschmidt have been friends for a while, stemming from their meetings at All-Star Games and playing for Team USA. It's on the backburner for the moment.

''I probably won't talk to him during this series,'' Arenado said. ''After it, we'll talk a little more.''

Roberts and Black go way back, too, with Roberts serving as one of Black's coaches when they were together in San Diego.

''He knows a lot of my tendencies. I know his,'' Roberts said. ''It's going to be exciting. I know that.

''(The tight division race) is great for baseball. It's great for all three fan bases. It's great.''

Dodgers top Rockies 8-2, move back into 1st in NL West

  Dodgers top Rockies 8-2, move back into 1st in NL West Joc Pederson hit two homers, Max Muncy added a three-run shot and the Los Angeles Dodgers moved back into first place in the NL West with an 8-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Monday night. Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu (5-3) pitched seven scoreless innings, throwing 93 pitches to match a season high. He struck out five and didn't walk a batter as he lowered his ERA to 2.21 over seven starts since returning from a strained left groin.

The Dodgers have won five straight NL West crowns in mostly comfortable fashion - by 11 games in 2017, four in '16, eight in '15, six in '14 and 11 in '13.

''It's been a fun September so far, and a lot of good games from now on,'' Dodgers utilityman Enrique Hernandez said. ''It's going down to the final series.''

Colorado has 43 comeback wins this season, including five walk-off homers. The Rockies also feature two players who should garner some NL MVP votes in Arenado and Story. Arenado is hitting .301 with 34 homers and 100 RBIs, while Story is batting .292 with 33 homers and 102 RBIs.

''We're very confident we can (win a division title),'' Story said. ''That's one of our goals. We're going to go for it.''


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