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Roberto Hernandez starts opener for Dodgers vs. Rockies

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Harry How

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers close out the regular season schedule with more of a tune-up weekend than anything, with three games against the Rockies at Dodger Stadium.

What we know is that Roberto Hernandez will start Friday night for the Dodgers, in what the team has to be praying is his final start for them. The former Fausto has been terrible in September, unable to last past 4⅓ innings in any of his four starts, allowing 14 runs on 22 hits, including seven home runs, in 15 innings during the month.

Yet if Hyun-jin Ryu isn't able to recover from his left shoulder inflammation in time to start Game 3 of the NLDS, Hernandez is likely the Dodgers' No. 4 starter in the playoffs.

The Dodgers have faith that Ryu will be ready to pitch by Oct. 6, but he will first have to hit some checkpoints along the way, including throwing off a mound. That will happen at some point this weekend, though per Don Mattingly on Wednesday likely not in an actual game.

After Hernandez this weekend, Zack Greinke and Dan Haren will likely get tune-up starts in before the playoffs, but likely in a shortened capacity. That hasn't yet been finalized.

Hernandez has a 4.74 ERA in eight starts with the Dodgers, a 74 ERA+. If he happens to make an October start this year, he will have the worst ERA+ by a Dodger postseason starter since Hal Gregg and his 5.87 ERA and 70 ERA+ started Game 7 of the 1947 World Series.

Yes, Game 7. The Dodgers lost that game, and the series. Gregg was unable to get out of the fourth inning.

Questions about the NLDS roster may or may not get answered this weekend, chief among them whether the Dodgers will carry 11 or 12 pitchers. Last year the club had 11 pitchers on both its NLDS and NLCS rosters.

Expect the regulars to get liberal rest this weekend, which means now is your last chance for a while to see Joc Pederson or Alex Guerrero in a Dodgers uniform.

Jordan Lyles starts for the Rockies in the opener.

Game info

Time: 7:10 p.m. PT

TV: SportsNet LA