The Los Angeles Dodgers need wins and plenty of help if they're going to reach the postseason.
They could also use a healthy Clayton Kershaw .
Kershaw and the Dodgers hope the ace's balky hip will hold up as he tries to continue his home success against the last-place Colorado Rockies on Friday night.
Los Angeles (81-75) is three games back of St. Louis for the NL's second wild-card spot with six games left."There's not much else to say about it other than we just have to win and hope we get some help," Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp said.
While the Dodgers host Colorado (62-94) and San Francisco - the NL West champion - in their final two series, the Cardinals' remaining schedule pits them against East-leading Washington and Central champion Cincinnati.
St. Louis plays the first of three games with the Nationals on Friday.
Los Angeles gained one-half game on the idle Cardinals on Thursday with an 8-4 win at San Diego to conclude a 5-4 trip.
Now, Kershaw (12-9, 2.68 ERA) will try to draw the Dodgers closer.
The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner is 3-0 with a 1.47 ERA over his last six home starts against the Rockies. However, he struggled in his lone meeting this year, surrendering five runs and three homers in 7 1-3 innings of an 8-5 defeat at Colorado on May 2.
This time, the left-hander is also contending with a nagging hip injury that has limited him to three outings this month. He's still managed a 0.95 ERA in that stretch, but has an 0-1 record thanks to an average of 1.89 runs of support.
Kershaw claims the hip is feeling fine, but there were concerns earlier this month that surgery might be needed.
"There's no particular reason why it feels good now and not before," Kershaw said. "But I'm not complaining. It feels good now and that's good.
"I didn't know what it would be long term to begin with. We'll see what happens when I make it through however more starts and make a decision from there."
Kershaw is in line to make two more starts, including the regular-season finale against the Giants on Wednesday.
The Dodgers will try to give Kershaw some support after scoring eight runs with 14 hits in each of the last two games.
Kemp and Luis Cruz are giving them some punch at the plate. Kemp has six hits with three doubles, one homer and five RBIs in two games, while Cruz is hitting .389 in the past nine games.
Kemp has a .375 average with three homers in 32 at-bats against Jeff Francis , Colorado's scheduled starter.
The Rockies are trying to win a season-high five games in a row for the third time after completing a three-game sweep of Chicago with Thursday's 7-5 victory.
The winning streak has prevented them from matching the franchise record for losses, set in their 1993 expansion season and equaled in 2005.
Francis (5-6, 5.54) will try to stave off that dubious record for one more game, and his most recent win came against the Dodgers at home Aug. 27. The veteran left-hander held the division rival to three hits with six strikeouts in five innings of that 10-0 victory.
Francis is 0-2 with a 5.91 ERA in five starts since, but has allowed two runs while fanning 10 in 10 2-3 innings while going 0-1 in two road games during that stretch.
He didn't get a decision while allowing two runs in four innings of Sunday's 10-7 defeat to Arizona which is also Colorado's last loss.
Jordan Pacheco homered for one of his two hits and plated three runs Thursday, giving him a .390 average in 10 games. He's 3 for 17 in six visits to Chavez Ravine.
|Jerry Hairston Jr.||13||.462||6||0||2||1||0||.500||1.038||.538|
|September 10, 2012||Ramon Hernandez||Day-to-Day||Left game - Left hamstring strain|
|August 22, 2012||Dexter Fowler||Day-to-Day||Left game - right ankle injury|
|August 20, 2012||Eric Young||15-Day DL||Left intercostal strain|
|August 19, 2012||Michael Cuddyer||15-Day DL||Right oblique strain|
|August 19, 2012||Josh Rutledge||Day-to-Day||Left game - left quad tightness|
|August 14, 2012||Drew Pomeranz||Day-to-Day||Chest soreness|
|Los Angeles Dodgers|
|September 15, 2012||Clayton Kershaw||Day-to-Day||Torn labrum, right hip|
|September 09, 2012||Clayton Kershaw||Day-to-Day||Sore hip|
|September 08, 2012||Matt Kemp||Day-to-Day||Left shoulder strain|
|September 08, 2012||Adam Kennedy||Day-to-Day||Strained right groin|
|September 08, 2012||Adam Kennedy||60-Day DL||Strained right groin|
|September 03, 2012||Javy Guerra||15-Day DL||Left oblique strain|
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Clayton Kershaw 's hip felt just fine and his pitching was solid too, keeping the Los Angeles Dodgers ' postseason hopes alive.
The left-hander struck out 10 over eight innings and Shane Victorino hit a three-run homer in the Dodgers' 8-0 win over the Colorado Rockies 8-0 on Friday night. Los Angeles remained three games behind St. Louis for the second NL wild card with five games to play.
The Dodgers' third victory in a row clinched a winning season for the second straight year under manager Don Mattingly .
"We got to keep pressure on St. Louis," he said. "We got to force them to win every day."
Kershaw (13-9) allowed five hits and walked two, lowering his NL-leading ERA to 2.58. His 221 strikeouts are one behind New York Mets ace R.A. Dickey's 222 for the league lead.
"I'm just realistic," said Kershaw, who expects to start the Dodgers' regular season finale next Wednesday against the NL West-leading Giants. "We pretty much need to win out. We're playing great baseball now. We can't really worry about St. Louis. Obviously we're watching."
Kershaw, last season's NL Cy Young winner, pitched on his regular five days' rest after going 12 days between starts leading up to his previous start against Cincinnati on Sept. 23 because his hip was sore.
He said his hip felt good, adding, "I can't explain it. Just being back on a regular routine helps."
Kershaw helped himself in the seventh, starting a double play when he turned around and fielded Andrew Brown 's comebacker between his legs with his back to the plate and fired to second for the first out.
"I was lucky," he said. "Close your eyes and hope it ended up in the glove."
The Dodgers provided Kershaw with early run support, taking a 4-0 lead in the second off Jeff Francis (5-7). Andre Ethier 's RBI double scored the first run and Victorino followed with his 11th homer.
Los Angeles made it 5-0 in the fourth when Ethier singled and scored on a double-play grounder by Kershaw.
Bobby Abreu had his first career pinch-hit homer, a two-run shot off Will Harris with two outs in the eighth, extending the Dodgers' lead to 8-0.
"He was pretty much lights out," Francis said about Kershaw. "You could tell because guys weren't putting good swings against him even when the ball was in the strike zone. He was pretty spectacular."
Making his team-leading 23rd start, Francis gave up six hits and five runs in four innings, struck out three and walked one to fall to 0-3 in his last six starts. The left-hander hasn't won since Aug. 27 against the Dodgers. The last-place Rockies' four-game winning streak ended as they opened a season-ending six-game road trip.
NOTES: Colorado 1B Jordan Pacheco went 0 for 4, ending his hitting streak at 10 games. ... Kershaw struck out at least 10 for the third time this season and 18th in his career. ... Los Angeles earned its first shutout win since Aug. 19, a 5-0 victory at Atlanta. ... The Dodgers sent INF Stefan Jarrin, the son of Dodger Spanish-language broadcaster Jorge and grandson of Hall of Famer broadcaster Jaime, to Philadelphia as the player to be named later in the July 31 Victorino trade. The 22-year-old Jarrin batted .209 with three homers and nine RBI in 26 games for the rookie-level Arizona League Dodgers. ... Tony Orlando serenaded Tom Lasorda with "Happy Birthday" between innings. Lasorda, who turned 85 last weekend, received a standing ovation from the crowd and both teams.