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05/29/10 8:58 PM ET

Dodgers, Rox tightening race in NL West

The Padres remain on top of the National League West, but the race for second is gaining momentum.

Just ask the Rockies or the second-place Dodgers.

After Saturday's 11-3 win by Colorado, the Rockies are three games from the premier spot in the standings while the Dodgers now trail the first-place Padres by two games.

The wild West could get even wilder Sunday in the rubber match despite the absence of Dodgers left fielder Manny Ramirez, who is expected to get the day off. What's more, shortstop Rafael Furcal and third baseman Casey Blake could also receive a day of rest in the series finale.

That's where Jamey Carroll should step in. The Dodgers' utility player has already seen action at first, second and third base this season. He's also played in the outfield at times during the past six seasons. That said, the veteran is not sure if he will even start Sunday.

"Joe [Torre] is good at giving you a heads up if he knows you're playing the next day," Carroll said. "I have an understanding of how it is now. Most day games after night games, there's an opportunity for myself, and whenever that is, I anticipate that opportunity."

Here's what we know: The Dodgers will send Clayton Kershaw to the mound. The Rockies will counter with Jhoulys Chacin.

Kershaw's three-game win streak was snapped in Chicago in his last start despite not allowing an earned run. He still picked up his fourth consecutive quality start, during which his ERA is 0.64 with 27 strikeouts in 28 1/3 innings. Moreover, Kershaw is 1-1 with a 2.28 ERA this year and 2-2 with a 6.92 ERA at Coors Field.

He could use some more run support. The Dodgers have scored a combined 10 runs in his past four starts.

Chacin limited the D-backs to four hits and two runs in six innings in his last start. Chacin threw 41 pitches in the first two innings against Arizona but between the second inning and the D-backs' two-run sixth, no runner reached second base.

"The pitching coach [Bob Apodaca] talked to me and said, 'Relax' and do what I did in the first two games," Chacin said.

Chacin appears to know the Dodgers well. He pitched 7 1/3 scoreless innings against Los Angeles on May 8 for his second win of the year.

Dodgers: Padilla throws simulated game
Vicente Padilla threw a simulated game and reported no problems with the inflamed radial nerve in his right arm that put him on the disabled list a month ago. He threw 15 pitches in each of three innings. George Sherrill also threw a simulated game. ... In his second and final rehab game for Triple-A Albuquerque on Saturday night in Memphis, Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier went 2-for-3 with three runs scored and two RBIs on a sacrifice fly and hit by pitch with the bases loaded. ... Knuckleballer Charlie Haeger will likely be activated from the disabled list to start Tuesday night against Arizona.

Rockies: Happy at home
The Rockies are 4-1 on this homestand and 15-8 at home so far this season. ... Carlos Gonzalez has scored seven runs in his past four games. ... Miguel Olivo has three consecutive multi-hit games and has hit a triple in the past two games.

Worth noting
The Rockies have hit at least one home run in a season-best 11 consecutive games since May 18 against the Cubs. ... Since August 2008, the Dodgers are 20-7 against Colorado and have won six of the past eight games and 10 of the last 14 games at Coors Field.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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