If you read the title of this article and said to yourself “not much”, you are probably in the right mindset.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are once again the favorites to come out on top of the N.L. West, while the San Diego Padres find themselves at the bottom of the projected leader board. So, in that sense you would think the Padres don’t stand a chance right? Well that’s just the thing. Don’t expect anything out of the Padres this week. Baseball is magical and anything can happen. So what if the Dodgers have the best pitcher in all of baseball? So what if they have one of the best lineups in the National League? So what, if Kenley Janssen is one of the best closers in the game? So what if Adrian Gonzalez seems to turn into Babe Ruth against the Padres? SO WHAT?
Like I wrote before, anything can happen. Who knows? Maybe the Padres sweep and go four games up on the Dodgers. The more realistic outcome though, is that the Padres are lucky if they squeak one game out of the Mighty Dodgers in their house.
Now, let’s get into the series, starting with Monday, opening day.
The pitching matchup for opening day is off-season pickup, right-hander, Jhoulys Chacin, against no need for introduction, Clayton Kershaw. I see Monday as a wash. You never know, but you can pretty much put it up on the standings. Padres 0-1, Dodgers 1-0. It pains me to say it, but the Padres have little to no chance versus Kershaw. All the Friars can do is be aggressive and take every opportunity they get, because they aren’t going to get too many.
Looking at game two of the series, it’s lefty Clayton Richard against Japanese born right-hander, Kenta Maeda. From this game on, the Padres have a legitimate chance to steal one from the Dodgers. Maeda made his major league debut last year against the Padres in which he also homered. That should get the Pads fired up and ready for payback. Clayton Richard had a resurgence after signing with the Padres mid-season. He had previously spent time up and down from the Cubs Triple-A club. Since re-joining the Padres, Richard has shown he can still be a quality starter in this league.
Game three is a matchup between another former Cub, Trevor Cahill and breakout star, Rich Hill. Cahill came into the year wanting a starting role and he got just that with the Padres. Rich Hill practically came out of nowhere last season with the Athletics. We’ll see if he can repeat his storybook season this year with the Dodgers (let’s hope not).
The fourth and final game is between little league-speed pitcher, Jered Weaver and the native Korean, Hyun-Jin Ryu. Weaver was signed this off-season after a marvelous 11-year career with the Angels. He might trip up some Dodger hitters with his 83 mile per hour “fastball’. All joking aside, let’s hope he can have a comeback year with the Padres. The other hurler is Hyun-Jin Ryu, who has been battling injuries since he joined the Dodgers in 2013. When healthy, he is a good starter with nasty stuff.
All in all, the lesson in this is don’t expect too much out of this series.
Anything is possible and I’ve definitely seen weirder things happen, but don’t be surprised if the Pads get swept or lose three. It’s a long year and we’ll get through it together.