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09/09/09 7:01 PM ET

Padres out to thwart contending teams

San Diego (63-78) vs. Colorado (79-60), 7:05 p.m. PT

SAN FRANCISCO -- They won't officially acknowledge it, but the Padres' spoiler tour continues this month when they open a three-game series Friday at PETCO Park against the Colorado Rockies.

The Padres are in a stretch of nine games against the three teams ahead of them in the National League West, three teams making a push for the postseason (Dodgers, Rockies and Giants).

The Padres took a series from the Dodgers over the weekend and then did the same against the Giants. The series victory over the Giants was the fifth consecutive series victory for the team.

All told, the Padres have 11 more games remaining this season against those three teams.

The Padres normally would have turned to 21-year-old rookie pitcher Mat Latos for his turn in the rotation Friday, but since he's been shut down for the rest of the season, long reliever Edward Mujica will get a spot start.

Mujica has a 3.51 ERA in long relief and is capable of throwing upwards of 60 pitches. The Padres could lean on newcomer left-hander Cesar Ramos, just up from Triple-A Portland, in relief.

The Padres are 4-8 against the Rockies this season but haven't faced them since July 16-19, which was before the team started to play better late in the month and before its first winning month of the season in August (15-14).

After the Colorado series, the Padres will play three games against Arizona. There are only 11 remaining home games at PETCO Park this season.

Pitching matchup
SD: RHP Edward Mujica (3-4, 3.51 ERA)
This spot would have normally gone to Latos, but the Padres have shut him down after he threw 123 innings this season. So the team will bump everyone back a day to get them extra rest and give this start to long reliever Mujica, who nearly got a spot start earlier this season before Clayton Richard arrived to take it. The team will, obviously, need some relief help, which could mean the Major League debut of Ramos, a possibility to follow Mujica to the mound.

COL: LHP Jorge De La Rosa (14-9, 4.51 ERA)
De La Rosa has more wins than any pitcher since June 1, so it could be said his turnaround is a complete one. But De La Rosa also has been spending time looking at film of his last start, a win but a rough performance. He lasted just five innings of a 13-5 victory over the D-backs. He gave up just two hits, but walked six. There were some pitches that were close, and he reacted to some calls in the fifth inning, but he said the real problem was he was slightly off-kilter. De La Rosa hasn't had the best of luck against the Padres this season -- 0-1, 5.06 ERA in three starts. Of course, all of those were in April and May, before he caught fire.

With Padres third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff nursing a strained left calf -- manager Bud Black said he could return within a week -- the Padres could use Chase Headley, Edgar Gonzalez, Oscar Salazar and Luis Rodriguez, though Headley is the logical pick there. Headley, a left fielder, is a third baseman by trade who made the switch to the outfield before last season because Kouzmanoff was at third base. ... Adrian Gonzalez hit his career-best 37th home run of the season in the third inning Wednesday off left-hander Barry Zito. It was his 10th home run of the season off a left-handed pitcher. ... The Padres won't see the Giants again until the final weekend of the regular season, a three-game series at PETCO Park, Oct. 2-4. ... Class A Fort Wayne opens the Midwest League playoffs Wednesday against South Bend. Simon Castro (10-6, 3.33 ERA) gets the start. He led the Midwest League in strikeouts (157). Erik Davis (16-6, 3.64) will start Game 2.

 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• 4 San Diego

On radio
• XPRS 1090, XEMO 860 (Español)

Up next
• Saturday: Padres (Tim Stauffer, 4-6, 3.49) vs. Rockies (Ubaldo Jimenez, 13-10, 3.32), 7:05 p.m. PT
• Sunday: Padres (Clayton Richard, 8-5, 4.88) vs. Rockies (Jason Marquis, 15-10, 3.65), 1:05 p.m. PT
• Monday: Padres (Kevin Correia, 10-10, 4.30) vs. Diamondbacks (TBD), 7:05 p.m. PT

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.