Rockies-Dodgers Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated September 28, 2012
The Los Angeles Dodgers need wins and plenty of help if they're going to reach the postseason. They could also use a healthy Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw and the Dodgers hope the ace's balky hip will hold up as he tries to continue his home success against the last-place Colorado Rockies on Friday night. Los Angeles (81-75) is three games back of St. Louis for the NL's second wild-card spot with six games left. ''There's not much else to say about it other than we just have to win and hope we get some help,'' Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp said. While the Dodgers host Colorado (62-94) and San Francisco - the NL West champion - in their final two series, the Cardinals' remaining schedule pits them against East-leading Washington and Central champion Cincinnati. St. Louis plays the first of three games with the Nationals on Friday. Los Angeles gained one-half game on the idle Cardinals on Thursday with an 8-4 win at San Diego to conclude a 5-4 trip. Now, Kershaw (12-9, 2.68 ERA) will try to draw the Dodgers closer. The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner is 3-0 with a 1.47 ERA over his last six home starts against the Rockies. However, he struggled in his lone meeting this year, surrendering five runs and three homers in 7 1-3 innings of an 8-5 defeat at Colorado on May 2. This time, the left-hander is also contending with a nagging hip injury that has limited him to three outings this month. He's still managed a 0.95 ERA in that stretch, but has an 0-1 record thanks to an average of 1.89 runs of support. Kershaw claims the hip is feeling fine, but there were concerns earlier this month that surgery might be needed. "There's no particular reason why it feels good now and not before," Kershaw said. "But I'm not complaining. It feels good now and that's good. "I didn't know what it would be long term to begin with. We'll see what happens when I make it through however more starts and make a decision from there." Kershaw is in line to make two more starts, including the regular-season finale against the Giants on Wednesday. The Dodgers will try to give Kershaw some support after scoring eight runs with 14 hits in each of the last two games. Kemp and Luis Cruz are giving them some punch at the plate. Kemp has six hits with three doubles, one homer and five RBIs in two games, while Cruz is hitting .389 in the past nine games. Kemp has a .375 average with three homers in 32 at-bats against Jeff Francis, Colorado's scheduled starter. The Rockies are trying to win a season-high five games in a row for the third time after completing a three-game sweep of Chicago with Thursday's 7-5 victory. The winning streak has prevented them from matching the franchise record for losses, set in their 1993 expansion season and equaled in 2005. Francis (5-6, 5.54) will try to stave off that dubious record for one more game, and his most recent win came against the Dodgers at home Aug. 27. The veteran left-hander held the division rival to three hits with six strikeouts in five innings of that 10-0 victory. Francis is 0-2 with a 5.91 ERA in five starts since, but has allowed two runs while fanning 10 in 10 2-3 innings while going 0-1 in two road games during that stretch. He didn't get a decision while allowing two runs in four innings of Sunday's 10-7 defeat to Arizona which is also Colorado's last loss. Jordan Pacheco homered for one of his two hits and plated three runs Thursday, giving him a .390 average in 10 games. He's 3 for 17 in six visits to Chavez Ravine.
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