The Los Angeles Dodgers hope another staff ace can keep the momentum going before the playoffs commence next week, as Zack Greinke takes the mound Saturday night in the second meeting of a three-game series versus the Colorado Rockies.
The NL West-champion Dodgers received a gem from Clayton Kershaw in Friday's 11-0 pounding of the Rockies and the left-hander struck out eight batters and allowed four hits in six scoreless innings. Kershaw lowered his major league- leading earned run average to 1.83 and did not issue a walk.
"If we had gotten this guy some runs, he would have won 25, 26 games this season," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "He just attacks. It's like the scoreboard isn't even there. He goes after people."
Carl Crawford and A.J. Ellis each homered and drove in three runs, while Juan Uribe finished 3-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored. Adrian Gonzalez added a solo homer and scored twice for the Dodgers, who are locked into the third seed in the playoffs and will start the NLDS on the road.
Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig was removed in the sixth inning after fouling a ball off his left shin in the fifth. Puig, who is day-to-day, hit his leg twice in the night and X-rays were negative.
"He hit that second one off the same spot," Mattingly said. "I just wanted to get ice on that. He was standing in line at the end of the game, so I'm assuming he's good."
Mattingly's club is still toiling without outfielder Andre Ethier because of an injured left ankle and shortstop Hanley Ramirez may return to the lineup Saturday. Ramirez sat out Friday's win due to a back problem and is batting .346 with 20 homers and 57 RBI.
Taking the mound Saturday for L.A. will be Greinke. The right-hander hasn't lost since July 25 and has won his past seven decisions. Greinke. though, did not record a decision in Sunday's 1-0 win at San Diego and tossed five shutout innings. He is 15-3 in 27 starts with a 2.67 ERA and has been brilliant at home this season, going 8-1 with a 2.16 ERA.
Greinke has faced the Rockies nine times (8 starts) in his career and sports a 3-1 ledger to go along with a 4.60 ERA. He is 2-0 in three starts against Colorado this season.
The Rockies' season is winding down and they have lost eight of their last 12 games. In Friday's lopsided defeat at Chavez Ravine, Collin McHugh was tagged for eight runs and nine hits in four innings to suffer the loss.
"I'm going to take this offseason and work on what I need to do to get better and what I do best, and hopefully come back and contribute another day," said McHugh.
Michael Cuddyer was 0-for-4 and still leads the National League with a .333 batting average. Atlanta's Chris Johnson is trailing at a .324 clip.
Rockies starter Juan Nicasio has been rough up the last two starts and gets the nod again Saturday against the Dodgers. In an 11-4 setback to St. Louis on Sept. 17 he gave up eight runs in 2 2/3 innings. Nicasio then surrendered seven runs in 2 1/3 frames of a 13-9 defeat versus Arizona on Sunday, falling to 8-9 in 30 starts with a 5.32 ERA.
Nicasio, a right-hander, is 2-2 with a 4.21 ERA in seven career starts against the Dodgers. He does have one win in two starts against L.A. in 2013.
Los Angeles is 9-8 against Colorado this season.