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June 02, 2002|Mike DiGiovanna

Opponent: Colorado Rockies

Series: Monday, 6 p.m.; Tuesday, 6 p.m.; Wednesday, noon.

Site: Coors Field, Denver.

Matchup: Whether it's the humidor the Rockies have been storing game balls in or simply better pitch execution, Colorado entered Thursday with a 4.24 team earned-run average, a marked improvement for a team that has finished last in the NL in ERA eight times and next to last once in nine previous seasons. The Rockies, who won eight of 10 games recently to move above the .500 mark, have finished with a sub-5.00 ERA only twice, when they won the NL wild card in 1995 (4.85) and in 1998 (4.99). Surprisingly, the so-called ace of the staff, Mike Hampton, has not led the way. The left-hander dropped to 2-6 with a 6.54 ERA after an 8-5 loss to San Diego on Monday. "It's to a point that what's happening is embarrassing," Hampton said.


Opponent: Baltimore Orioles

Series: Friday, 4 p.m.; Saturday, 4 p.m.; Sunday, 10:30 a.m.

Site: Camden Yards, Baltimore.

Matchup: The interleague portion of the Dodger schedule begins with a series against the Orioles, who feature a young catcher named Geronimo Gil, a name that may not be familiar to Dodger fans but is to the Dodger front office. Last July, the Dodgers traded Gil and another minor leaguer to Baltimore for reliever Mike Trombley, who was a bust in Los Angeles and released this spring. Gil has developed into a solid big league catcher, hitting .271 with seven homers and 24 RBIs entering the weekend. The Baltimore offense also features Jeff Conine (.254, eight homers, 37 RBIs) and Tony Batista (.259, 12 homers, 32 RBIs). Oriole pitcher Sidney Ponson was believed to be untouchable last year, but the Orioles have entertained trade offers for the young right-hander.

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