Colorado Rockies (73-88) at Los Angeles Dodgers (92-69)
Sunday, September 29 - 4:10 PM EST
Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California
The spectacular 17-year career of Todd Helton comes to a conclusion Sunday when the Colorado Rockies visit the Los Angeles Dodgers. "There were days, I thought, 'Maybe I can do this one year,' " said Helton, who wears No. 17 and has a .316 career average. "Then ultimately, it's the travel, being away from the family. It is just time." Helton, who turned 40 on Aug. 20, has hit .286 with two home runs and 10 RBIs in the 12 games since announcing his retirement Sept. 14.
While the Rockies will miss the playoffs for the fourth straight season, it appears they will have the National League batting champion for the eighth time as Michael Cuddyer (.333) leads Atlanta's Chris Johnson by 12 points. The Dodgers are the No. 3 seed in the NL playoffs and will open their best-of-five Division Series on Thursday at Atlanta or St. Louis. Los Angeles continues to rest its regulars as only three - shortstop Hanley Ramirez, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and catcher A.J. Ellis - were in Saturday's starting lineup.
TV: 4:10 p.m. ET, ROOT (Colorado), FSN Prime Ticket (Los Angeles)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Rockies LH Jeff Francis (2-5, 6.61 ERA) vs. Dodgers LH Hyun-Jin Ryu (14-7, 2.97)
As Helton faces his final game, this could be Francis' swan song with Colorado. The 32-year-old Vancouver native, who will make his first start since June 18, was 2-5 with a 6.58 ERA in 11 starts before being demoted to Triple-A Colorado Springs and returning to make 11 relief appearances. Francis, who went 17-9 for the 2007 National League champions, is 6-5 with a 3.53 ERA in 20 games (19 starts) against Los Angeles as he takes the place of Tyler Chatwood (elbow soreness).
Ryu's impressive rookie season has landed him in line to pitch Game 3 of the NLDS, which will be Los Angeles' first home game. The 26-year-old South Korean is 7-3 with a 2.23 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and .246 batting average against at home, but has lost two of his last three starts at Dodger Stadium. Ryu, who allowed one run in seven innings of a 2-1 victory at San Francisco on Tuesday, defeated Colorado 6-2 on April 30 when he struck out a career-high 12.
1. Helton is one of two players in major-league history with at least 2,500 hits (2,518), 550 doubles (592), 350 home runs (369) and better than a .315 batting average (.316). Stan Musial (3,630 hits - 1,815 at home and on the road, 725 doubles, 475 homers, .331 average) is the other.
2. The season series is tied 9-9. The Rockies haven't won a season series against the Dodgers since 1999.
3. Larry Walker (three times), Andres Galarraga, Helton, Matt Holliday and Carlos Gonzalez are Colorado's batting champions.
PREDICTION: Dodgers 3, Rockies 2