The Dodgers may have stumbled a bit out of the gate, but if they can win a series against their division rivals, they should find themselves in the thick of the National League West race awfully quickly.
That's exactly what they have a chance to do Wednesday night against the first-place Rockies in the rubber match of a three-game set at Dodger Stadium.
Right-hander Juan Nicasio gets the ball for Colorado. He is 3-0, but the record doesn't show the spurts of inconsistency he has shown this season.
Still, Nicasio is racking up victories and has rediscovered his fastball -- likely the result of him being less tentative on the mound. Velocity on the pitch has increased to the 97 mph range after it had been around 94.
"His fastball was really good in Phoenix," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "That's who he is. He's one of those guys that's making his way back after missing a lot of time. Those guys might not have their 'A' game every time they go out there every fifth day. But we know what Juan is capable of, and he showed it last time."
Nicasio will have to contend with a Dodgers lineup that received a boost Tuesday with the addition of Hanley Ramirez, who returned from a torn ligament in his right thumb. Ramirez went 2-for-4 with a homer in his first start of the year.
On the hill for Los Angeles will be veteran Josh Beckett, who sports a 4.75 ERA and hasn't won yet in five starts. The Dodgers righty has struggled with the long ball, allowing multiple homers in four of his five starts.
"You just have to throw it where you want to throw it," Beckett said. "If you don't do that, you're going to give up hits. For me, a lot of it just comes down to being able to execute pitches when I need to."
Beckett is 5-2 with a 3.70 ERA in eight career starts against the Rockies.
Rockies: Tulo expects to return
• Colorado shortstop Troy Tulowitzki expects to return to the starting lineup Wednesday night after he missed the first two games of the series with a strained left rotator cuff.
"Compared to yesterday, today was a lot different," Tulowitzki said on Tuesday. "I'm looking forward to getting back."
The two-time All-Star helped his case to return by cranking a couple homers into the home bullpen at Dodger Stadium during batting practice.
Dodgers: Crawford hamstrung
• Dodgers left fielder Carl Crawford was scratched Tuesday because of tightness in his right hamstring that he felt during batting practice.
Crawford is batting .308 this season with four home runs and six RBIs.
• In his career, Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp has hit Nicasio well, notching four hits -- including a triple and a pair of homers -- in 11 at-bats.
• Since 2009, the Dodgers are 26-12 against the Rockies in Los Angeles and have won 10 of 12 series.
• Tulowitzki is 3-for-5 lifetime against Beckett with a pair of doubles.