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Rays-Dodgers preview

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What's new: The Dodgers' high-priced collection of talent finally clicked in late June, and they have been on a roll since (34-8 after Thursday's 5-1 win over St. Louis), zooming from last place and 9½ games behind to the top of the NL West. Rookie OF Yasiel Puig has received most of the attention for sparking the run with his dynamic play, but it has been something of a team effort, especially as they boasted a majors-best 2.66 ERA before Thursday. The rotation features LHP Clayton Kershaw, RHP Zack Greinke and LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu. 1B Adrian Gonzalez is back on his game as a major threat. SS Hanley Ramirez has been sidelined with a sore shoulder but could return this weekend. OF Matt Kemp is among those on the disabled list.

Key stat: Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen has retired 28 of the last 29 batters he has faced, 15 by strikeout.

Connections: Dodgers OF Carl Crawford and LHP J.P. Howell were longtime Rays, senior vice president Gerry Hunsicker a former Rays exec. Rays 1B James Loney was a Dodger for parts of seven seasons, RHP Jamey Wright last season.

Series history: Tied 3-3; this is the Rays first visit to Dodger Stadium.

Marc Topkin, Times staff writer

Rays-Dodgers preview 08/08/13 [Last modified: Friday, August 9, 2013 12:10am]
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