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LAD@SF: Ryu gives the Dodgers an outstanding start

The Dodgers are locked into the No. 3 seed in the National League playoffs, and the Rockies have been eliminated for quite some time.

But that doesn't mean Sunday's game at Dodger Stadium will be without intrigue as the teams close the regular season.

Colorado's Michael Cuddyer -- battling a sore left wrist -- takes the field for the Rockies in search of the NL batting title. Cuddyer sat Saturday night but said he's going to play Sunday because he doesn't want to back into the batting crown.

Cuddyer (.333) has a healthy lead over Atlanta's Chris Johnson (.321).

"I feel like that thing is still aggravating him, but of course 'Cuddy' wanted to get back in there," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said Saturday. "But I made up my mind last night I was going to keep him out of the game tonight and go from there. There's a good chance he'll be back in there [Sunday]."

Cuddyer will go for his first career batting title against Dodgers left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu, whom Cuddyer is 1-for-3 against.

Either Ryu or righty Ricky Nolasco will start for the Dodgers in Game 3 of the NL Division Series against either the Braves or Cardinals. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly has yet to announce a starter for that game, though he said he has no hesitation in sending Ryu to the mound under the October lights.

"I've always been comfortable with Hyun-Jin. There's no question mark," Mattingly said. "Most every outing has been pretty much quality. He bends but doesn't break. You couldn't ask anything more."

Ryu is 14-7 with a 2.97 ERA this season and won his only start against Colorado, allowing two runs on three hits in six innings in April.

Rockies: Francis gets start
Left-hander Jeff Francis will take the mound in Sunday's season finale. He has spent all but a season-plus of his nine-year Major League career in Colorado.

Francis, 32, hasn't started since June 18.

"I certainly like it a lot," Francis said of getting the nod. "Starting is what I've always done and it's where I want to be. I'm certainly honored that they gave me the opportunity.

"I don't really want to speculate but I would think my time as a Rockie is probably closing."

• Sunday marks the final game of a storied 17-year career for first baseman Todd Helton. He is one of only two players -- along with Hall of Famer Stan Musial -- to have at least 2,500 hits, 550 doubles, 350 home runs and a career batting average of .315 or higher.

Dodgers: Postseason prep
Outfielder Yasiel Puig is expected to start Sunday, but shortstop Hanley Ramirez isn't. Nick Punto also is unlikely to play, while center fielder Matt Kemp -- who has played only 73 games this season -- was a late scratch Saturday with left ankle soreness.

• Chris Capuano wants to bounce back and pitch Sunday to show he can help as a third lefty out of the postseason bullpen.

Worth noting
• The season series is tied, 9-9. The Dodgers have not lost a season series to the Rockies since 2007.

• Sunday is Fan Appreciation Day at Dodger Stadium and fans in attendance will have the chance to win a variety of prizes.

• Los Angeles' Juan Uribe has a six-game hitting streak (.348).

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