It’s no secret who the Los Angeles Dodgers will turn to in their first two playoff games. Brett Anderson may have a chance to officially get them there.
Anderson might be taking the mound with the opportunity to help the Dodgers clinch their third straight NL West title on Saturday night against the Colorado Rockies.
Despite falling 7-4 at Colorado on Friday, Los Angeles reduced its magic number in the West to two games with nine remaining when San Francisco lost to Oakland.
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The Dodgers should take the field Saturday already knowing if clinching is possible since the Giants face Oakland earlier in the day.
"That would be nice and ideal for us, if we can take care of business now," outfielder Carl Crawford said. "But we’re not looking forward to nothing."
With Los Angeles (87-66) all but guaranteed to reach the playoffs, it’s also practically certain that Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke will start the first two games of the NL division series.
Anderson (9-9, 3.52 ERA) seems the most likely candidate to start the next game.
The left-hander has two scheduled starts left in what would be his first complete – and healthy – season in the majors since he was a rookie with Oakland in 2009.
Anderson, though, dismissed talk of fatigue after he was tagged for five runs and 10 hits – two homers – in 4 2-3 innings of an 8-4 loss to Arizona on Monday.
"My stuff was fine," Anderson told MLB’s official website. "It was just a bad outing. I only have a couple more and I expect to pitch better."
Anderson feels he’ll be better as his remaining starts come on four days’ rest after getting at least five over his last three.
"I would like to be on normal rest to get back in the rhythm," said Anderson, who is 7-2 with a 3.29 ERA in 13 starts on four days’ rest. "It’s tough, trying to get me extra rest. I’m in uncharted territory with starts and stuff; still, I’d like to get in a normal routine. That’s when I was pitching the best, every four or five days and knowing what I’m doing day in and day out."
Anderson, who pitched for Colorado last season, is 1-0 with a 2.20 ERA in three starts against the Rockies – all this year. He allowed three runs with seven strikeouts in six innings of a 5-4 loss in 16 on Sept. 15.
The Rockies (64-90) send Kyle Kendrick (6-13, 6.37) to the mound sporting the highest ERA of any pitcher with at least 100 innings. It’s also the highest for any Rockies pitcher with at least 130 since Darryl Kile had a 6.61 mark in 1999. That year, Pedro Astacio and Brian Bohanon served up a team-record 22 homers at Coors Field, and Kendrick is two shy of matching them.
He’s allowed a major league-high 32 home runs overall despite spending six weeks on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation.
Kendrick was roughed up for a career-high four homers and six runs in four innings of a 10-4 home loss to San Diego on Sunday.
The right-hander is 0-5 with a 5.19 ERA over his last six starts against Los Angeles. He allowed six runs and 10 hits over 5 1-3 innings in an 11-4 loss at Coors on June 1.
Kendrick hasn’t allowed a homer to Adrian Gonzalez, but the Dodgers slugger is 10 for 20 with five doubles off him.