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Deep Dodgers send McDonald to hill

Deep Dodgers send McDonald to hill

It is the depth and balance of this year's Dodgers club that allows it to bring three starting pitchers into Coors Field, none with more than six career Major League victories, and still think sweep.

The Dodgers go for the second game of the three-game series Saturday night by sending rookie James McDonald to the mound for his first Coors Field start. He's already enjoyed some degree of success against the Rockies, having pitched 4 1/3 scoreless innings in a no-decision last weekend in Los Angeles.

And, besides, he figures to get a lot of help. Manny Ramirez, even though he went back to being a singles hitter Friday night, is hitting .356 and has nine RBIs in his past seven games. Andre Ethier added two more RBIs for a team-high 19 after 17 games. He didn't have 19 last year until May 25.

But the Dodgers also have a bench that allows manager Joe Torre to play National League ball. He can double-switch to his heart's delight in late innings, or feel confident enough in resting Russell Martin because Brad Ausmus is liable to go 2-for-5 with a game-winning RBI, as he did Friday night.

"We've got so many weapons," said closer Jonathan Broxton, who's a pretty good one himself.

Broxton figures to be unavailable Saturday night after throwing 52 pitches over the previous two games, which could give Torre some difficult decisions in the late innings, as he also used Hong-Chih Kuo for the first time in five days, and also got two innings from Ronald Belisario.

"Offensively, this is what I expected," said Mark Loretta, a former All-Star who was satisfied to sign with the Dodgers as a utility player for the chance to join on a winning team. "Good clubs play their regular players. This lineup can put a lot of pressure on pitchers because there's not a let-up in it. But I've been pleasantly surprised by the pitching, both the starting and relieving."

Torre has said he plans to rest shortstop Rafael Furcal and Casey Blake Sunday, so he figures to go with his regulars Saturday against Colorado starter Ubaldo Jimenez.

Pitching matchup
LAD: RHP James McDonald (0-1, 5.87 ERA)
McDonald tossed 4 1/3 scoreless innings against the Rockies on Sunday, just three days after pitching a scoreless inning out of the bullpen. McDonald was denied his first win of the season because he didn't reach the five-inning threshold. McDonald pitched out of trouble as he allowed four hits and walked three while striking out two.

COL: RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (1-2, 6.00 ERA)
Jimenez struggled to maintain any consistency Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles. He was in trouble from the start and had only one inning where he faced the minimum. Jimenez has had two consecutive tough starts since his season debut in which he pitched seven scoreless innings and struck out eight. Against the Dodgers, he pitched 4 1/3 innings and gave up seven runs and seven hits. He walked four and struck out three.

Tidbits
Orlando Hudson singled to extend his hitting streak to 10 games Friday and also walked twice and scored two runs. ... Ramirez has a seven-game hitting streak and is 8-for-16 against Colorado this year. ... James Loney, who feasts off Rockies pitching, doubled and scored the winning run Friday, as well as singled and walked twice. ... Kuo suffered his first blown save Friday, but also was credited with his first victory of the year. His ERA is 8.31. ... Broxton has 15 strikeouts in 9 1/3 innings and a 0.96 ERA ...

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• PRIME

On radio
• KABC 790, KHJ 930 (Español)

Up next
• Sunday: Dodgers (Clayton Kershaw, 0-1, 4.41) at Rockies (Jason Marquis, 2-1, 4.26), 12:10 p.m. PT
• Monday: Dodgers (Randy Wolf, 1-1, 4.26) at Giants (TBD), 7:15 p.m. PT
• Tuesday: Dodgers (Chad Billingsley, 4-0, 2.05) at Giants (TBD), 7:15 p.m. PT

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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