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09/23/10 10:28 PM ET

Impressive starters take hill for Dodgers, D-backs

Clayton Kershaw has a busy week ahead of him.

With Colorado in the middle of the hunt for a postseason spot, the Dodgers moved Kershaw up in the rotation so he could pitch against the Rockies next week in Denver and have an impact on the playoff race.

On Friday, he'll take on the hot-hitting D-backs at Chase Field on his regular five days' rest. The D-backs are coming off a three-game sweep of the Rockies and have embraced their role as a spoiler.

It's already been quite a year for the young left-hander. He's within 3 2/3 innings of reaching the 200-inning mark for the first time in his career, and he'll establish a new career high in starts with 32 when he takes the mound Friday.

In his last outing, Kershaw gave up four earned runs on four hits in four innings against the Rockies. He's 2-0 with a 1.64 ERA against Arizona this season.

The D-backs will counter with promising pitcher Barry Enright, who has had a notable season himself. The young right-hander has showed progress since his promotion from Double-A, but was tagged for six runs on six hits and lasted 3 2/3 innings in a 9-6 loss in Pittsburgh on Saturday.

It seems as if Enright along with Daniel Hudson (7-2, 2.49 ERA) have pitched themselves into a fine position in the organization. They could carry the starting rotation for years to come.

But first things first.

"They've come up here and pitched, and they understand that they belong," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "Barry, I think, is probably [tiring] more than Daniel right now, but who knows? I think they accomplished a lot this year, just enough to understand that they got a long way to go."

Both Enright and Hudson could look to Kershaw as an example. Kershaw is 8-2 with a 1.77 ERA in 14 starts against the NL West this season. Division opponents are batting .185 with 92 strikeouts in 91 1/3 innings.

Dodgers: Furcal driving LA
Rafael Furcal went 2-for-4, scored twice and stole his team-leading 22nd base of the season on Thursday. The Dodgers improved to 12-2 when Furcal scores two or more runs in a game. ... Hong-Chih Kuo has allowed just one hit, struck out nine and given up just one run over his last six appearances. ... Dodgers Triple-A outfielder Jamie Hoffmann has been named to USA Baseball's Pan American Qualifying Team.

D-backs: Playoff tough
The D-backs have made their mark against the NL's playoff contenders. Since Aug. 27, the D-backs are 3-3 against the Giants, 3-0 against the Padres, 2-2 against the Reds and 3-3 against the Rockies. Overall, the D-backs are 14-10 in their last 24 games against the division.

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


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