After struggling to score runs, the Los Angeles Dodgers produced their best offensive showing in more than seven weeks in their series opener with the Colorado Rockies.
Unfortunately for the Rockies, they'll have to deal with another one of the NL's best pitchers in addition to Los Angeles' awoken lineup on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium.
Los Angeles (92-68) had totaled 13 runs while splitting its previous six games before an 11-0 win Friday. It was the club's third-highest total of the year and its most since a 13-4 win at St. Louis on Aug. 7.
The Dodgers were 5 for 15 with runners in scoring position, nearly matching their total from the last six games when they went 6 for 44 (.136). Juan Uribe and Mark Ellis combined for six hits and had two RBIs each, while Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez both homered to provide plenty of backing for Clayton Kershaw. The left-hander struck out eight over six innings.
"He just attacks," manager Don Mattingly said. "It's like the scoreboard isn't even there. He goes after people."
Since July 30, Kershaw's 1.55 ERA is baseball's best, closely followed by scheduled starter Zack Greinke's 1.59 mark.
Greinke (15-3, 2.67 ERA) is 7-0 in that span, allowing two runs or fewer in each outing. He matched a season-low with 72 pitches while throwing five innings of two-hit ball in a 1-0 victory at San Diego on Sunday, but it simply appeared to be a matter of Mattingly trying to get him some rest prior to the postseason.
"It was really more of a solid five innings than anything else," Mattingly said. "His next one will be more of a regular one."
Greinke is 2-0 in three starts versus Colorado this year, though he gave up nine runs over 10 1-3 innings in the first two meetings. He threw a two-hitter with nine strikeouts in a 1-0 final on July 13 at Chavez Ravine.
The Rockies' Todd Helton was 0 for 3 with two strikeouts on Friday, ending a seven-game hitting streak as he enters the final two contests of his career. He's 3 for 15 off Greinke with four walks, but 3 for 6 this year.
Scheduled starter Juan Nicasio (8-9, 5.32) might need some help from Helton and the rest of the order as he owns an 0-3 record and 10.18 ERA over his last five starts. He's surrendered 15 runs in his last two starts, while throwing only five innings.
Nicasio saw mixed results in two outings against the Dodgers this year, both in Los Angeles. He surrendered three runs over four innings of a 7-3 victory on May 1, then limited them to three hits in seven innings during a 3-0 win on July 12.
Hanley Ramirez, who received a day of rest Friday but is expected to play Saturday according to the team's official website, is 5 for 8 off Nicasio with two doubles.
Yasiel Puig may miss Saturday's game after fouling a ball off his leg in the fifth inning Friday and exiting, though X-rays were negative. He's 7 for 40 (.175) over his last 12 games, though three of those hits were home runs.