Rockies squeak past Dodgers 1-0

The SportsXchange

LOS ANGELES - By now, the Los Angeles Dodgers' focus is on bigger and better things.

Specifically, the postseason.

"Just trying to get ready," Dodgers pitcher Zach Greinke said. "Make good pitches. Make good plays in the field and have good at bats. Just get as ready as possible."

For the Colorado Rockies, Saturday was simply about playing out the schedule on the second-to-last day of the regular season.The differing approaches from either side made for a have-to-play it atmosphere, the result being a restrained 1-0 Rockies win at Dodger Stadium.

The Dodgers are using the final days to manipulate their lineup to get players optimal rest, but their hand has been forced in some cases, due to misfortune.

For instance, Matt Kemp was a late scratch due to left ankle soreness, Yasiel Puig was out of the lineup after getting pulled from Friday's game upon fouling a pitch off his leg and Andre Ether is in Glendale, Arizona dealing with an ankle sprain.

And with Carl Crawford on a rest day, that meant a watered down outfield of Skip Schumaker, Scott Van Slyke and Nick Buss.

The good news is the Dodgers are already locked in the postseason, the only intrigue now whether they start the first round - in Atlanta or St. Louis.

So with nothing discernible to play for, they will simply play to sharpen, mend and prepare.

Kemp being scratched five minutes before the game when he had trouble getting loose.

"We just didn't want to take any chances, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.

And with Kemp's various injuries ailments this year, Mattingly is a bit concerned heading into the playoffs - although he remains cautiously optimistic.

"A little bit, just because of everything," Mattingly said. "But I don't know what good it's gonna do get all nervous worried about it. I feel like he's gonna be ready ready to go."

The lack of star power played into the slow night offensively against Colorado starter Juan Nicasio, who limited the Dodgers to just two hits over the first five innings.

The Rockies weren't much more decisive against Greinke, but they did manage an RBI double by Nolan Arenado to score Troy Tulowitzki in the fourth to make it 1-0.

The Dodgers managed just three hits, and head into Sunday's season finale more concerned with who they will face in the National League Divisional League playoffs next week.

As of Saturday, the St. Louis Cardinals led the Atlanta Braves for the best record in the National League, meaning the Dodgers would open the playoffs in Atlanta next Thursday.

But with one game remaining for both potential opponents Sunday, that could change by the end of the day.

Meanwhile, Colorado outfielder Michael Cuddyer, who sat out Saturday with a sore wrist, goes into the final game of the season the likely National League batting champion.

Barring some sort of calamity, his .333 average will hold up as the highest average in the National League.

"It means a lot,'' Cuddyer said. "It takes a lot of hard work, sticking to routines and things of that nature - and a lot of luck along the way, too. I'm not too proud to admit that to do something like that, you've got to get lucky.

"I went into the season a career .271 hitter. So and to be in a position like this, I never would have thunk it. I never thought that when the season ends, I'd be on top. I've never been in that position before, so I was never assuming that I was going to be there. Obviously when you get into September and you're in contention, you keep plugging away for it. And fortunately, I've had a good September. But I never tried to get ahead of myself.''

NOTES: Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said Puig was fine by Saturday afternoon. Puig also came out clean on X-rays after Friday's game, and Mattingly was just playing it safe. Puig is expected to play Sunday. ... Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp was a late scratch from the lineup with soreness in his left ankle. The Dodgers said it was precautionary, but it's worth noting it's the same left ankle that sidelined him for nearly two months this summer. ... Colorado Rockies first baseman Todd Helton, set to retire after Sunday's finale against the Dodgers, took the lineup card to home plate before Saturday's game.
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