Although they'll have to move on without one All-Star, the Los Angeles Dodgers appear to be in good hands with another taking the ball as they open a series at Coors Field.
Left-handed ace Clayton Kershaw looks to bounce back from his first defeat in more than a month on Friday night when the Dodgers visit the slumping Colorado Rockies.
Before Thursday's 3-2 loss to the rival Los Angeles Angels, the Dodgers (22-30) placed Matt Kemp on the 15-day disabled list because of a right hamstring strain. Kemp, who was injured in Wednesday's loss, is batting .251 this season with two homers and 17 RBIs following offseason shoulder surgery, but just 1 for 17 with 10 strikeouts in his last six games.
"I never want to be away from the game, but I have to at the moment," said Kemp, who was replaced in center field by Andre Ethier. "It comes with the territory, but it's disappointing."
The last-place Dodgers hope to regroup behind the two-time All-Star Kershaw (5-3, 1.68 ERA) in the opener of this three-game series versus the Rockies (28-26).
The 2011 NL Cy Young Award winner suffered his first defeat since April 17 on Sunday, giving up four runs and seven hits in seven innings in a 5-3 loss to St. Louis. Kershaw hadn't yielded more than three earned runs in any of his previous 22 starts - the longest such streak by a Dodger since Orel Hershiser's 27-game stretch from July 12, 1985 to May 25, 1986.
"You're not going to be able to just go out there and throw up zeros or one run every time," Kershaw said. "You've got to battle sometimes."
Kershaw will try to begin another impressive stretch versus a Colorado team that has dropped five of six following a 7-5 home loss to AL-worst Houston on Thursday.
"They were able to get big hits and we didn't," said catcher Yorvit Torrealba, who had three hits. "Now we've got to move on and hopefully play good baseball against the Dodgers.''
Kershaw is 6-1 with a 2.89 ERA in his last 14 starts against the Rockies, though he's allowed 11 runs and 14 hits over 13 1-3 innings in his last two outings at Coors Field.
Carlos Gonzalez, who took Kershaw deep twice in his last start in Colorado, is hitting .406 in 28 career home games against the Dodgers.
Although teammate Troy Tulowitzki leads the majors with a .405 average at home, he's batting .211 with one homer in 38 career at-bats when facing Kershaw.
Colorado starter Jon Garland (3-6, 5.05) will try to avoid matching a career-worst fifth straight losing start, going 0-4 with a 6.86 ERA since his last victory over Tampa Bay on May 4.
The right-hander is 2-2 with a 3.52 ERA in five career starts against the Dodgers.
Carl Crawford is 1 for 12 in his last three games and also 1 for 18 lifetime against Garland.
Slugging first baseman Adrian Gonzalez went 0 for 3 in Thursday's loss, leaving him 5 for 35 (.143) with one homer in his last 10 road games.
Jerry Hairston Jr. went 5 for 9 with a homer and three RBIs as the Dodgers dropped two of three to the visiting Rockies April 29-May 1.
Colorado has outscored Los Angeles 76-48 while winning eight of 11 meetings at Coors Field.