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SF@LAD: Ace-off: Bumgarner faces Kershaw in L.A.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly has tried to keep things in perspective for his club as they inch closer and closer to the postseason. The team's magic number to win the National League West is five, which they could clinch as early as Sunday.

That would mean the Dodgers would have the opportunity to do it against the Giants, their National League West rival.

"No, I honestly don't think it would make it any sweeter," Mattingly said. "We're just looking to get where we want to go. I know the Giants-Dodger thing sounds good. But we just want to put ourselves in position. I don't think there's any extra incentive there."

Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he's not going to get caught up in whether they can prevent Los Angeles from clinching during the series.

San Francisco first baseman Brandon Belt would definitely like to stop the Dodgers from clinching during the series.

"You never like to see the other team celebrate on the field," said Belt.

Before the two clubs can reach that scenario, they'll face each other on Friday at Dodger Stadium in what will be quite a pitchers' duel. The matchup pits San Francisco left-hander Madison Bumgarner against Los Angeles southpaw Clayton Kershaw.

While Bumgarner (11-9, 2.82 ERA) is winless in his last seven starts, he's tossed quality starts in five of them. He's also gone 17 straight starts allowing three earned runs or fewer.

In his previous outing against the D-backs, Bumgarner struck out nine and allowed just four hits in six innings, but did not factor into the decision.

He'll have some tough competition in Kershaw, who leads the Majors with a 1.92 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and 216 innings pitched in his quest for the NL Cy Young Award. He also leads the NL with 208 strikeouts.

The left-hander took a no-decision in his last start against the Reds, allowing two runs on four hits in seven innings. Those runs came on two homers by Jay Bruce.

Unbelievable in four starts against the Giants this season, he is 3-0 with a minuscule 1.13 ERA.

Giants: Gaudin to throw simulated game
• Right-hander Chad Gaudin will throw another simulated game on Friday. It's Gaudin's hope, along with the team's, that things will go smoothly and allow him to be reinstated from the disabled list in time to pitch before the end of the season.

"Hopefully, all goes well and we'd be able to activate him a couple of days after that," said Bochy.

Gaudin threw the equivalent of two innings in a simulated game Monday, but the Giants determined another simulated game would help to sharpen his repertoire.

Dodgers: Hanley exits game
• Shortstop Hanley Ramirez left Thursday night's game against the Giants with mild left hamstring tightness.

Nick Punto replaced Ramirez at shortstop at the beginning of the seventh inning.

"I think he's OK. He gets tight during the games and he always says he's fine. We couldn't take the risk right there with him. He wanted to stay in the game. But we got to the point where I just couldn't take that chance," Mattingly said. "It seems like the last couple of days he's been saying the same thing and coming in the next day saying he feels fine. As the game goes, it keeps popping back. He's kind of begging me to keep playing there, but at that point I just couldn't do it. We're not going to take any chances."

Worth noting
• San Francisco is 28-43 on the road this season, the fifth-lowest road winning percentage among NL teams.

• Kershaw is 11-4 with a 1.32 ERA against the Giants, with three shutouts in 21 games (20 starts). That ERA is the lowest all-time against the Giants franchise among pitchers with 75 or more innings pitched. Comments