When the Rockies open a critical four-game series with the Dodgers on Thursday night, their lineup might be a bit more dangerous than the one that has dropped four of six to open a 10-game road trip.
Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (broken rib) and center fielder Dexter Fowler (right hand injury) will reunite with the Rockies in Los Angeles, where Fowler will be activated and Tulowitzki could also make his long-awaited return. Their return may come just in time for Colorado, which won its first series in July with a 5-4 victory over the Padres on Wednesday night.
"I'm expecting Dexter to be ready to go. Sounds like his hand is doing fine," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "Tulo's going to go to L.A. It'll be more re-evaluating Tulo and going from there."
The Rockies, 9-16 since Tulowitzki went down, will need every bit of offensive power they can get against the red-hot Dodgers, owners of a Major League-best 15-3 record since June 22. While rookie phenom Yasiel Puig has been the sparkplug of Los Angeles' resurgence, shortstop Hanley Ramirez has been nearly as electric since he came off the disabled list in early June, boasting a .409 average through 35 games.
The offensive fireworks could overshadow a pitching matchup between two starters fighting to stick in the big leagues.
The Dodgers told Chris Capuano (2-6, 5.19 ERA) he lost his spot in the rotation when they acquired Ricky Nolasco from the Marlins on Saturday. But with rookie Stephen Fife battling a right shoulder injury, Capuano will get his first start in seven days on Thursday.
In his last start, a 9-5 loss to the Rockies, Capuano allowed five earned runs and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings.
"It's always going to be something," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said after Capuano's last start. "You can't throw five [Clayton] Kershaws out there."
Rockies starter Drew Pomeranz (0-2, 9.72 ERA) will try to earn his first quality start of 2013, as the left-hander has allowed four runs or more and tossed no more than 4 1/3 innings in two Major League starts, with opponents hitting .333 against him.
Rockies: CarGo returns early
Rockies fans may have been pleasantly surprised to see Carlos Gonzalez in the batter's box for Colorado's series finale in San Diego on Wednesday night.
Though Gonzalez was not expected to return until Thursday, he felt healthy enough after a pregame batting-practice session to start in left field. Gonzalez missed the first two games against the Padres with a right middle finger sprain incurred Sunday night against the D-backs.
Gonzalez finished 1-for-5 in his first game back.
Dodgers: Schumaker to miss Thursday's game
Second baseman Skip Schumaker will miss his second straight start in the series opener against the Rockies, as Major League Baseball upheld his two-game suspension Wednesday.
Schumaker was suspended for his involvement in the June 11 bench-clearing brawl with the D-backs but has insisted he did nothing to deserve a suspension.
"I didn't do anything wrong," he said. "For pulling guys off each other, I get suspended for two games. I appealed, but it didn't do any good. The video showed I didn't throw punches. Guys did more than me and nothing happened to them. It doesn't make sense."
Though one regular member of the infield will be missing, third baseman Juan Uribe will be back in the lineup after resting up for two games because of poor matchups.
• The Rockies' Todd Helton earned the 1,318th walk of his career Wednesday night, pushing him past Mark McGwire for 38th on MLB's all-time list.
• Pomeranz, who has floated between the Majors and Minors over the last three years, made three starts against the Dodgers last season, surrendering six earned runs over 14 2/3 innings (3.68 ERA).
• Los Angeles completed a three-game sweep of Arizona on Wednesday, the Dodgers' fifth consecutive series victory.
Ian McCue is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.