LOS ANGELES -- Seems the Los Angeles Dodgers can’t even make it through pregame warm-ups without losing a key player to injury.
Matt Kemp was a late scratch Saturday evening against the visiting Colorado Rockies after feeling soreness in his left ankle. The Dodgers could have used his bat, as they were shut down by Rockies starter Juan Nicasio and a trail of relievers in a 1-0 loss in the penultimate game of the regular season.
Kemp returned Sept. 16 after missing two months with an injury to the same ankle and a hamstring strain that also popped up late in his rehabilitation. He's been hitting .314 since his return, though he’s hitless in his past nine plate appearances.
Kemp was penciled in to bat fifth and play center and was even announced on the scoreboard about 10 minutes before the first pitch, but it was Skip Schumaker who jogged out to center in the top of the first, with Nick Buss entering the starting lineup in right field.
Juan Uribe moved up one spot to No. 5 in the batting order and came up with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth inning. He fouled out to the catcher before left fielder Scott Van Slyke hit an inning-ending fly out to right. The Dodgers, who will open the NL Division Series on Thursday at either the St. Louis Cardinals or Atlanta Braves, remain the worst-hitting team in the majors with the bases loaded this season (.194).
Buss ended another Dodgers scoring threat by grounding out to first with runners on second and third and two outs in the second inning.
The loss prevented Dodgers starter Zack Greinke (15-4) from winning his eighth consecutive decision and matching his career-high win total. Greinke allowed one earned run on four hits and struck out seven without walking a batter. He lowered his ERA to 2.63, the second-lowest mark of his career after his AL Cy Young season of 2009 (2.16).
Greinke’s only miscue came against Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado with two outs in the fourth and Troy Tulowitzki on second base. Greinke left a 1-2 pitch over the plate and the Orange County native lined it into left-center field, where it fell just out of the reach of a diving Van Slyke.
Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig was held out of the starting lineup for precautionary reasons after twice fouling pitches off his lower left leg in Friday’s victory. He pinch-hit with two outs in the seventh inning and struck out on three pitches.