DENVER – Before it even began, the focus on the first game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Colorado Rockies was elevated above the typical June 1 matchup on both sides. Sure, the Dodgers are surging and trying to catch back up both to the expectations put on them and the first-place Rockies.
That would have been narrative enough. But injury complications early in the day made this a must-watch game for fans of either team.
For the Rockies, they got back their All-Star second baseman DJ LeMahieu in time to insert him into the lineup, but at the expense of a disabled list trip for David Dahl, who figures to miss at least a month and a half with a broken foot. For an offense that has picked it up in the recent weeks, the one-for-one exchange created a shake up. But the more interesting adaptation coming into the night was on the Dodgers’ side, with their starting pitcher.
Scott Alexander, a left-hander who had never started a game at the MLB level, became the 500th person to do so in a Dodgers uniform as Dave Roberts got creative and borrowed a page from the playbook of Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash. Alexander served as an “opener” which is the exact opposite of a closer, who comes in to work the first inning (or in Alexander’s case, 1.2) before handing the game over to the “starter.”
With the Rockies being the home team, all eyes would have to pass over Rockies starter Tyler Anderson as he took the ball in the first. Right away, it looked as though the pitcher who was assumed to pitch the majority of the game might not make it much farther than the short reliever on the other side, giving up a triple to lead off hitter Chris Taylor to start the game.