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Dodgers starting pitchers try to tame Coors Field beast

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Kenny Karst-USA TODAY Sports

An overriding theme for the Dodgers in 2016 is how their pitching staff will perform aside from ace Clayton Kershaw. The non-Kershaw starters will get the toughest of tests this weekend against the Rockies in the nightmare that is Coors Field.

Dodgers starters have a 2.81 ERA so far this season, including 3.41 in 12 starts by the non-Kershaws.

In nine starts in Coors Field in 2015, Dodgers pitchers had just one quality start, by Kershaw, and the starters put up a collective 7.16 ERA while averaging just 4.89 innings per start.

Scott Kazmir gets the call in the opener of the series, looking to move past a pair of four-inning outings in his last two starts. The veteran left-hander will make his 275th career start on Friday night, but just his second at Coors Field. His only appearance in Colorado came in 2007, when he allowed three runs in six innings in a win.

Kazmir will have to fend off a pair of right-handed sluggers on the left side of the Rockies infield. Colorado shortstop Trevor Story has eight home runs in his first 15 games, overshadowing the continued excellence of third baseman Nolan Arenado, who has six home runs of his own while hitting .267/.323/.617.

That duo has been especially tough at home, hitting .367/.418/.878 with 11 extra-base hits in just 55 plate appearances.

On the mound for Colorado is right-hander Jon Gray, back off the disabled list from an abdominal strain. One of his nine major league starts in 2015 came against the Dodgers on Sept. 14, when he struck out a career-high eight at Dodger Stadium but also suffered the loss allowing two runs in 4⅔ innings.

The rookie Gray was rated the No. 31 prospect in baseball entering the season by MLB.com, was ranked 37th by Baseball America and 33rd by Baseball Prospectus.

Game info

Time: 5:40 p.m. PT

TV: SportsNet LA