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LOS ANGELES – The marquee matchup of a weekend duel for first
place was supposed to take place Friday before the Los Angeles Dodgers pulled a
late switch and nixed a battle of aces.The Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw no longer
will match up with the Arizona Diamondbacks‘ Zack Greinke in the second game of
the four-game series at Dodger Stadium as fellow left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu will
take his place for the Dodgers Friday night.It wasn’t that the Dodgers wanted to
spread the pitching wealth around the series. In moving Kershaw to Saturday’s
game against Arizona http://www.stlouiscardinalsteamshop.com/authentic-steve-carlton-jersey ,
it will give him an extra day of rest with a month left in the season, but
primarily it lines up his next outing against another National League West title
contender in the Colorado Rockies.Article continues below ...“Every game is very
difficult, but when you’re playing a division rival, that essentially counts as
two games,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said, according to the Los Angeles
Times. “To have the guys that you want in a particular matchup, that’s what we
feel comfortable with.”The Dodgers lost to the Diamondbacks 3-1 on Thursday
night to fall two games behind first-place Arizona in the division, while
essentially putting more emphasis on Ryu’s start Friday.Greinke is still the
Friday starter for Arizona. His August was not as good as his brilliant
July Paul
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, but he still arrives at his former home park with a
2.19 ERA over his last 10 starts going back to the beginning of July. His worst
outing in that bunch came Aug. 13 when he gave up four runs over 6 1/3 innings
in a loss to the Texas Rangers.But in his last outing Sunday against the
contending Seattle Mariners, Greinke (13-8, 2.93 ERA) went 6 2/3 innings without
giving up an earned run and picked up his first victory since July 27. He is 6-4
lifetime against the Dodgers with a 3.84 ERA over 13 starts. This season Greinke
is 2-0 with a 4.38 ERA in two starts against Los Angeles.Greinke is well aware
that Arizona still has two series remaining against the Dodgers, counting this
one, as well as two series against the Rockies. The D-backs also have games
remaining with the Houston Astros and Chicago Cubs.“I don’t know about the
strength of schedule, but it looks like we’ve got a lot of tough teams coming
this month,” Greinke said, according to the Arizona Republic lex
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, “and play the people we’re competing against a lot,
so it is going to be an intense last month, I’d expect.”In three starts since
coming off the disabled list because of a strained left groin, Ryu (4-1, 2.18)
has been impressive. In recent starts against the Giants, Cardinals and Padres
he has a combined 2.30 ERA over 15 2/3 innings.Ryu is 3-3 with a 3.90 ERA in 12
career starts against the Diamondbacks, and he is 0-0 with a 5.40 ERA in two
starts against them this season.Ryu has yet to throw more than 89 pitches in a
start during his comeback, though Evan
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, and the Dodgers could be forced to make an early
call to a bullpen that has been a wild ride of late.Dodgers relievers struggled
when closer Kenley Jansen was on the disabled list for 10 days in August with an
irregular heartbeat. Jansen has struggled in four outings since he has returned,
but the rest of the relievers have been better and the Dodgers just got
right-hander Josh Fields back from a DL stint of his own because of right
shoulder inflammation. BALTIMORE (AP) — The Houston Astros aren’t going to
simply go through the motions while closing out the regular season.Houston’s
game against the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday night was postponed by rain,
meaning the Astros will squeeze in four games over the final three days,
including a doubleheader on Saturday.The 54 postponements in the major leagues
this year are the most since 58 in 1989, the commissioner’s office said.Houston
will squeeze in four games over the final three days, including a doubleheader
on Saturday.Not a problem for the AL West champions, who open the Division
Series on Oct. 5 at home against Cleveland.Gerritt Cole (15-5), who was slated
to start Thursday http://www.raysfanproshop.com/authentic-dustin-mcgowan-jersey ,
will instead pitch Friday night. Justin Verlander (16-9) will start the opener
on Saturday (the makeup of Thursday’s rainout) and Dallas Keuchel (12-11) will
pitch in the nightcap.“It’s important to them to get their regular work because
we’ll have a week off,” manager A.J. Hinch said. “There are also personal goals.
Gerrit is trying to get 200 innings and Justin is still in consideration for the
Cy Young.”The Astros have already clinched the second seed in the AL, already
have 100 wins and need only to avoid injury through the weekend.But they can’t
afford to lose their focus, even against the worst team in the major leagues.“I
have stressed to them not to get sloppy,” Hinch said. “You don’t want to play
like it’s spring training, then go have to go back into playoff mode.”Simply
put, winning is still important.“I don’t want them to get into bad habits,”
Hinch said. “We have to play the games and you have to keep your edge. You can’t
not compete.”Hinch said his starters will continue to see action Carlos Gomez
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, even if it’s for just part of the game.Josh Reddick, Jose
Altuve, Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa were among those in the starting lineup
Thursday.The Orioles, meanwhile, are just striving to reach the finish line of
the worst season in franchise history. Baltimore 46-112.TRAINER’S ROOMAstros:
The wife of RHP Charlie Morton gave birth to a girl on Thursday. Morton could
pitch the regular-season finale on Sunday.Orioles: RHP Miguel Castro (knee)
remains sidelined. His status for this series is uncertain.UP NEXTAstros: Cole
is 5-0 over his last seven starts. He stands 5 2/3 innings short of reaching 200
for the season.Orioles: Rookie David Hess (3-10, 5.14 ERA) starts Friday night.
He has one victory since May 25.
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