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07/27/10 8:19 PM ET

Feeling like late September in late July

It's still only late July, but both the Padres and Dodgers know the importance of their three-game set at PETCO Park.

The Dodgers took the first game of the series on Tuesday, 2-0, and will look to take the series on Wednesday with right-hander Hiroki Kuroda getting the start opposite left-hander Clayton Richard.

Kuroda (8-8, 3.48 ERA) is coming off his best start of the season -- eight shutout innings against the Mets on Thursday.

It was his second straight solid outing since the All-Star break, and it snapped his three-game losing streak. The rest that came with the break certainly has helped, even if he's reluctant to admit it.

"I don't want to think so, but that's probably one of the reasons," Kuroda said.

Richard, meanwhile, is looking to bounce back from going 1-1 with a 7.13 ERA over his past four outings despite a 3.57 ERA on the season.

He started to figure things out in previous start on Thursday against the Braves, though, as he allowed three early runs but settled down to toss six innings and keep the Padres in the game, which they ultimately lost, 7-5.

But his manager, Bud Black, who knows quite a bit about pitching himself after 15 seasons as a pitcher in the big leagues, said Richard's recent problems have been with his command, and as long as he throws strikes, he'll be fine.

"When he struggles, the ball-strike ratio is a factor," Black said. "He's in and out of the strike zone and in deeper counts."

Dodgers: Torre expects team to make trade
Manager Joe Torre said he expects the Dodgers, who have been linked to pitchers such as Ted Lilly and Roy Oswalt, to make a move before the Trade Deadline. "I have a sense we'll do something," said Torre. "Ned's [General manager Ned Colletti] been talking to a number of clubs. We're all thinking pitching, but not limiting it to pitching. My guess is we'll do something. In my two years here, we have."

Padres: Eckstein happy with results of MRI
Second baseman David Eckstein got good news when he received results of an MRI on his right calf, which revealed his injury is nothing more than a strain. "[The results were] probably better than expected," Eckstein said. "They were happy with what they found."

Worth noting
Dodgers outfielder Manny Ramirez, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list on July 17, has reported to the club's Camelback Ranch-Glendale complex in Arizona to continue his recovery from a strained right calf but is still at least a week away from returning to game action. .. Dodgers All-Star right fielder Andre Ethier was a late scratch from the starting lineup Tuesday night with a sour stomach but came in as a pinch-hitter and delivered a two-run single in the seventh inning of Tuesday's 2-0 win. .. Padres reliever Mike Adams, on the 15-day disabled list since July 16 (retroactive to July 12) with a strained left oblique, threw his second bullpen session on Tuesday and could be headed for a Minor League rehab assignment late this week or early next week if the injury responds positively.

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


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