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Game 161: Jorge de la Rosa vs. Clayton Kershaw

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As Rox Girl noted, the next two games will carry a lot of weight for the Rockies and Dodgers. The team continues to ascend to surprising heights against the odds - first back to .500, then to contention, then to the Wild Card lead, then to clinching the Wild Card. And now, if Colorado wins both games, they will not only win the NL West but also clinch home-field throughout the playoffs. Truly, inconceivable. However, with a loss in either or both games, Los Angeles earns home field.

Depending on who starts Sunday for LA, last night was the most likely of the three games the Rox would win, and with the win, they increased their chances of the division from 7% to 17%. Tonight is the least likely win (relatively). Last night, Colorado won by just one despite their ace on the hill and holding Manny Ramirez, Matt Kemp, James Loney and Casey Blake to an 0-16, 10 K night, stranding 11 baserunners. I wouldn't count on that happening again.

Jorge De La Rosa 7281_medium

#29 / Pitcher / Colorado Rockies

6-1

210

L

L

Apr 05, 1981

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Jorge De La Rosa 16-9 32 31 0 0 0 0 182.0 172 95 90 20 83 189 4.45 1.40

It is ironic that the least likely W in the series comes with Jorge de la Rosa on the hill, given that the Rockies won all six of his September starts and 17 of his last 19. One of those two losses came at Coors Field against Los Angeles, when he got outmatched by...ahem...Vicente Padilla. In fact, he's 0-2 with a 5.75 ERA against Los Angeles. Of course, we saw just how much that can mean last night, when Ubaldo Jimenez tormented the Dodgers after coming in 0-3 with a 7.77 ERA against them. With a win, de la Rosa would tie Kevin Ritz, Pedro Astacio and Jeff Francis for the franchise record in wins in a season, despite having none through the first third of the season.

Clayton Kershaw

#22 / Pitcher / Los Angeles Dodgers

6-3

220

L

L

Mar 19, 1988

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Clayton Kershaw 8-8 30 29 0 0 0 0 165.0 116 55 53 7 88 175 2.89 1.24

Kershaw will be making his second start since returning from an injury to his right shoulder in early September. The Dodgers surely must have scolded their young rapscallion for the injury, which he sustained from running into the outfield wall during batting practice. In his first start since his return, he went just four innings due to being held on a pitch count. Colorado has managed to work the pitch count of the 21-year-old this season fairly well, as he has averaged just 5.5 IP in four starts against the Rox (2 wins, 2 losses). That could be the key in the game: perhaps he'll be nervous in a clinching game, seeing as this is the first season he would even get to legally partake in a champagne celebration.

The Vegas odds for the game: Dodgers -134 favorites.

Lineup

Colorado Rockies @ Los Angeles Dodgers

10/03/09 8:10 PM MDT

Colorado Rockies Los Angeles Dodgers
Carlos Gonzalez - CF Rafael Furcal - SS
Ryan Spilborghs - LF Juan Pierre - CF
Todd Helton - 1B Matt Kemp - RF
Troy Tulowitzki - SS Manny Ramirez - LF
Garrett Atkins - 3B Casey Blake - 3B
Chris Iannetta - C James Loney - 1B
Brad Hawpe - RF Orlando Hudson - 2B
Clint Barmes - 2B Russell Martin - C
Jorge De La Rosa - P Clayton Kershaw - P