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Clayton Kershaw and Jon Gray face off at Coors Field

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There’s a marquee pitching matchup at Coors Field today.

DENVER—We’re still in that part of the baseball season where teams are going through their rotation one by one, before days off and stubbed toes interrupt it all. That’s how we’re getting today’s pitching matchup: Clayton Kershaw vs. Jon Gray.

The Rockies squeezed out a victory against the Dodgers yesterday despite quiet bats. The task will only get harder today against Kershaw, perhaps the best pitcher of his generation. But that’s not something to worry about too much. “We got a battle on our hands,” Black said. “Our guys are ready for it.”

This will be Kershaw’s 18th start at Coors Field. In all, he’s pitched 103 innings pitched at Coors, posting a 4.63 ERA and striking out about a batter an inning.

But Jon Gray is no slouch, either. The Rockies’ ace had a rough first outing of the season, allowing five runs in four innings. He did strike out seven batters and walk just two in those innings. And he has his manager’s confidence.

Asked if he talked to his staff ace about the matchup, Bud Black said no. “Jon knows who he’s going against—and you know what, I think Kershaw knows who he’s going against too.”

It should be fun.

More than that, he has confidence in himself. Based on what he told the Denver Post’s Nick Groke yesterday, he’s even excited: “I mean, shoot, if I could go head-to-head in a pitcher’s duel with Kershaw, that would be sick.”

Indeed.

Additional pre-game notes:

The original lineup card had Gerardo Parra in right field and Stephen Cardullo in left. They have switched. Parra will play left and Cardullo will be in right field.

Chad Qualls threw a simulated game in Denver today. Black called his stuff “Chad Qualls-like,” which we’ll presume means his sinker and slider were working, and not that he fell off the mound. He should start a rehab assignment within the next couple of days.

The report Black received from Albuquerque regarding Chris Rusin was positive. The club will make a determination on his status within the next 24-48 hours.

Black is fully aware that Germán Márquez hasn’t made it into a game yet, and he also knows it’s important for him to get reps to stay loose. Márquez has been pitching side sessions, but Black wouldn’t be surprised to see some rust when he makes it into a game.