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LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Dodgers will send their longtime staff ace to the mound Tuesday in a key National League West clash Steve Pearce Jersey , while the Colorado Rockies will have their difference maker poised for another second-half masterpiece.September matchups with a division title on the line do not get much better than three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw against outside Cy Young contender Kyle Freeland in a must-see duel of left-handers.The Dodgers will enter Tuesday with a half-game lead on the Rockies after beating their division rival 8-2 on Monday in the opener of a three-game series at Dodger Stadium.Article continues below ...“In September (great matchups) get elevated because of the situation,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “(Tuesday) is a good one just because our guy has been pitching great and their guy has been pitching great for about 10 years. What can you say? The left-handedness is pretty cool too.”Freeland is not only 15-7 with a 2.96 ERA this season, he is 9-2 at Coors Field with a 2.36 ERA. Numbers like that should give him extra credit in the Cy Young chase, but he probably is not going to get enough of it to edge out other award contenders like Aaron Nola of the Phillies, Max Scherzer of the Nationals and Jacob deGrom of the Mets.In three starts against the Dodgers this season, Freeland is 1-1 with a 2.79 ERA.Kershaw has been there and done that when it comes to a late-season Cy Young Award drive. He has gone through two separate disabled-list stints this season, and even though he hasn’t looked like a no-hitter waiting to happen like in recent years, he has been plenty good enough.Kershaw is 7-1 with a 2.39 ERA in 15 starts since returning from a back injury that wiped out three weeks in June.“I think that people want to look at http://www.bluejaysfanproshop.com/authen...oup-jersey , I guess, the strikeout percentage, but if you look at what he’s done and how efficient, how successful he is, he is our ace,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “He’s doing it a little bit of a different way, but he might argue that. He’s still an elite pitcher and he’s our No. 1.”Kershaw will be tasked with facing what Roberts called one of the best top of the orders in the game from Rockies leadoff man Charlie Blackmon to DJ LeMahiey, Nolan Arenado and cleanup hitter Trevor Story. In the fourth inning Monday Matt Adams Jersey , though, Story left the game with an apparent back injury.That foursome has been the heart and soul of the Rockies for a few years now. Freeland at the top of the pitching rotation has turned the Rockies into a title contender. But even though Colorado has appeared in a World Series, it has never won an NL West title.After Tuesday, the Rockies have just one more chance on Wednesday to create some space between them and the Dodgers.The offense in L.A. is currently being powered by a focused Yasiel Puig, who was named NL player of the week, mostly for a two-game flurry over the weekend in St. Louis when he hit five home runs in two games. But Joc Pederson emerged Monday to hit a pair of home runs. Minnesota will use the “opener” strategy with its pitchers for the first time this season when left-handed reliever Gabriel Moya is expected to start for the Twins against the Texas Rangers on Sunday, following a practice began in May by Tampa Bay and utilized by a handful of other major league teams this year.Right-hander Zack Littell will be recalled from Triple-A Rochester to serve as what Minnesota manager Paul Molitor has dubbed the Twins’ “primary pitcher” after Moya.The Rangers will counter with left-hander Yohander Mendez (0-1, 14.73 ERA) as their starter in the rubber game of the series at Globe Life Park in Arlington http://www.nationalsfanproshop.com/authe...ong-jersey , Texas.Article continues below ...Texas hit four homers to beat Minnesota 7-4 on Saturday to snap a five-game losing streak. Rookie Ronald Guzman hit a three-run homer while Nomar Marzara, Adrian Beltre and Rougned Odor hit solo homers.The Twins have been utilizing the “opener” strategy for months at both the Double-A and Triple-A levels. Minnesota decided to push back right-hander Kyle Gibson’s start to Monday in Houston to try the strategy because the Rangers have a left-handed top of their batting order.The “opener” is employed to keep the game’s primary pitcher from facing the top of the lineup early and to be limited to two times through the order.“You don’t want to do it on a whim,” Twins manager Paul Molitor told MLB.com. “There’s always going to be a risk, and then you try to decide in the game when it’s worthwhile to try to find out if this is something that’s going to be helpful to help your team win. You’re looking for an advantage.”The Rangers activated pitcher Bartolo Colon off the disabled list Saturday, but then scratched him from Sunday’s start against the Twins because of a stomach virus. Colon hasn’t pitched since Aug. 20 because of stiffness in his back. The 45-year-old is a free agent after this season.The 23-year-old Mendez is set to be recalled Sunday to make his second start and third appearance of 2018. He has never faced Minnesota.Mendez is being brought back to the big leagues for the first time since June 19, when he was demoted to Class A after violating team rules in Kansas City.“He took the challenges with the right attitude, went back down, and he’s going to get an opportunity to come back up tomorrow and start for us http://www.nationalsfanproshop.com/authe...oit-jersey ,” Texas manager Jeff Banister said of Mendez.The Rangers are satisfied that Mendez has done everything asked of him since the demotion.“Reports I got were that he worked his rear end off, physically and mentally, and took all the challenges and met all of them, even when they were a little bit tough,” Banister said. “The thing that I like about our coaching staff and this organization is that things like that happen. (But if) you go do your work, you’re given that opportunity to clean that slate, go do what you need to do.”Mendez exited his last start for Triple-A Round Rock on Tuesday at home against Memphis after two innings when he was struck on his left arm by a batted ball. He is expected to be fully healthy for Sunday’s start.
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