LOS ANGELES -- With a just-completed road trip salvaged, the battered and bruised Los Angeles Dodgers will return home Monday with a confidence rarely seen in 2018.
Despite being the defending National League champions, the Dodgers will open a season-long, 10-game homestand with a 20-26 record, sitting in fourth place in the five-team National League West.
After dropping the first two games of their six-game road trip against the Miami Marlins and the Washington Nationals, the Dodgers were on a six-game losing streak overall. They closed out their last homestand by getting swept in a four-game series by the lowly Cincinnati Reds.
But a three-game sweep of the previously red-hot Nationals has the Dodgers riding a four-game win streak with rookie Walker Buehler set to face the Rockies for the first time in 2018.
Buehler does have familiarity with the Rockies, though, facing them four times in relief as a September call-up last season. He pitched two scoreless innings against the Rockies in his major league debut on Sept. 7 but returned three days later to give up four earned runs against the Rockies while getting just one out.
Of those three teams ahead of the Dodgers in the standings, one is the Rockies, who have proved to be adept at playing road games. The Rockies are 18-11 on the road this season. Last year's Rockies team set a club record for winning percentage after 29 games, going 19-10.
The Rockies feel like they are a consistent offense away from putting some distance between them and their division rivals.
"We're winning games, and as a team we're winning games," said Ian Desmond, according to MLB.com, as he emerged from a slump Saturday to hit two home runs. "It's going to be better when we're clicking on all cylinders, but this is what gets you through those dog days, when you just find a way, scratch and claw, and a different guy every night."
The Rockies will send right-hander German Marquez to the mound Monday. He fits in line with the Rockies' road success, posting a 2.25 ERA in his five road starts while delivering a 10.34 ERA during his four starts in the thin air of Colorado.
In Marquez's only previous start at Dodger Stadium, he gave up four runs on six hits in four innings last September. He has a combined 4.50 ERA in his two career appearances against L.A.
Injuries have crushed the Dodgers this season. Clayton Kershaw is currently on the DL with a biceps injury and Corey Seager was lost for the year after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Justin Turner only came back Tuesday after missing the start of the season with a broken wrist.
More bad news came this weekend with Rich Hill going on the DL, but Kershaw threw a bullpen session Sunday and could be one more session from returning to action in a minor league rehab start or a major league game.
"We just want to leave it open for him, and for us," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said, according to the Los Angeles Times. "Anything is possible."