When the season began, the Dodgers and Rockies envisioned this series to feature clubs vying for the National League West lead. Instead, both clubs are just trying to keep the division-leading Giants in sight.
Saturday's pitching matchup at Coors Field favors the Dodgers on paper, with Zack Greinke (8-2) against Jhoulys Chacin (0-4). Not only is Greinke looking to become the NL's first nine-game winner, he is 4-1 with a 1.67 ERA on the road this season. Since 2013, Greinke's 11-3 road record is the best in Majors.
Manager Don Mattingly, who called out his struggling club earlier this week, continues tinkering with the lineup. In Friday's series opener, he moved Hanley Ramirez to the second spot in the batting order behind basestealer Dee Gordon. Ramirez is 0-for-7 lifetime against Chacin.
Chacin missed the first month of the season with a right shoulder strain. Since his return, the Rockies have lost all six of his starts. In last start, Sunday at Cleveland, he allowed only three hits in five innings but walked five and gave up four runs. It was his second five-walk game of the season.
Chacin poses a unique challenge to Mattingly and his lineup matchups, because the right-hander has been more effective against left-handed hitters (.239 opposing batting average) than right-handed hitters (.304).
Mattingly voiced frustration with his club's play after Wednesday's loss to the White Sox at Dodger Stadium, indicting it in general for selfish play, but in particular taking issue with the offense's inability or refusal to make opposing pitchers work harder for outs.
"We have to make pitchers fight for outs and we'll be fine," Mattingly said. "We need to swing at strikes. Against Chicago, their pitchers weren't throwing strikes, and we didn't make them."
Mattingly didn't back down from his critical comments, but said it was time to put the bad play and criticism behind them and "move forward."
The words seemed to take hold in the series opener, as the Dodgers handed the Rockies their eighth consecutive loss, 7-2. Gordon went 3-for-4 with two triples and three RBIs, while Ramirez had two hits and drove in a run.
Dodgers: On the run
The Dodgers lead the Majors in stolen bases with 68, 18 more than the closest challenger (Kansas City). Gordon leads the league individually with 36, 14 more than runner-up Billy Hamilton. Gordon's streak of 15 consecutive safe steals ended Wednesday night, only the fourth time he's been caught in 39 attempts. He stole No. 36 in the series opener on Friday night.
Rockies: Power at the top
Charlie Blackmon has three home runs leading off games this season, tied for second-most in the league and second-most in a Rockies season behind Eric Young's four in 1996. His 11 home runs on the season from the leadoff spot in the lineup lead the Majors and are a club record.
• The Rockies' eight-game losing streak is their longest since they dropped nine in a row from Sept. 15-23, 2012.
• Gordon is the first Dodgers player with two triples in a game since Rafael Furcal in 2010, also at Coors Field.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.