The Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers will travel to Monterrey, Mexico for a three-game series beginning Friday.
LA has gone from an almost unstoppable force in 2017 to a bit of a hot mess this year. The team occupies fourth place in the National League West with a record of 13-17 and has a losing record at home and on the road. The Padres occupy fifth in the division with an 11-21 record.
Like the Padres, LA has been bedeviled by early injuries, the most devastating being Corey Seager’s UCL sprain which will require Tommy John surgery. Third baseman Justin Turner has been on the disabled list with a fractured left wrist since early March, and Yasiel Puig just landed there with a left hip pointer. Hyun-Jin Ryu, who has been one of their most reliable starters, left yesterday’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks after just 1 1/3 innings with a groin strain.
The Padres lost promising starting pitcher Dinelson Lamet to an elbow injury before the season even began. Austin Hedges (right elbow tendinitis), Wil Myers (strained left oblique) and Hunter Renfroe (right elbow inflammation) have joined him on the disabled list, and there’s no timetable for their return.
In the first series against the Dodgers, the Padres lost all three games with the lopsided scores of 3-10, 3-7 and 4-13. Manager Dave Roberts has elected to give Clayton Kershaw an extra day of rest, so the Padres will not have to face him in the series. However, like the rest of the Dodgers’ team, Kershaw at 1-4 has not been Kershaw-esque.
The Dodgers will play the fourth game of a series against the Arizona Diamondbacks and then travel south. Not taking that game into consideration, the Padres and Dodgers have identical 3-7 records in their last 10 games.
The Dodgers have yet to announce their starters. Rich Hill (1-1, 6.00 ERA, 1.600 WHIP ) of the problem-prone fingers (blisters, cracked fingernail, infection) may come off the disabled list to face the Padres. There’s also been speculation heralded rookie Walker Buehler, who pitched five scoreless innings in his first start in the majors before he was optioned back to the California League, will pitch in one of the games.
The Padres rotation has been set:
Game 1, 6:10 PDT Joey Lucchesi (3-1, 2.78 ERA, 1.113 WHIP) vs Walker Buehler (1-0 1.80 ERA, 1.400 WHIP)
Joey Lucchesi has been one of the bright spots in the Padres’ rotation. He has pitched six innings in two starts, which helped save the battered bullpen. As a rookie, and the first player from San Diego’s draft class of 2016 to reach the major leagues, he has shown poise and confidence. Earlier in April, he won his first game at Coors Field, of all places. The Padres beat the New York Mets 12-2 in his last start, in which he pitched 5.2 innings, giving up four hits and two runs.
Game 2, 4:10 PDT Bryan Mitchell (0-3, 6.07, 1.888 WHIP) vs Kenta Maeda (2-2 3.76 ERA, 1.481 WHIP)
Brian Mitchell, the presumed target of the trade with the New York Yankees that also netted third baseman Chase Headley, has not lived up to the Padres’ expectations. Although he has cut down on his walks, from a high of six against the Houston Astros, he still gives up too many free passes (23 in only six starts). In his last start against the New York Mets, Mitchell pitched just 4.2 innings, giving up five hits, four walks, and four runs in a 14-2 loss.
Game 3, 1:10 PDT Eric Lauer (0-1, 10.13 ERA, 2.375 WHIP) vs Rich Hill (1-1 6.00 ERA, 1.600 WHIP)
Eric Lauer, another rookie, has had a rough start to his major league career, not aided by the fact he had the mistfortune of pitching his first game at Coors Field in less than ideal conditions. Pulled after just three innings, Lauer gave up seven runs (six earned) on six hits and four walks. However, his ERA dropped from 18.00 to 10.13 when he pitched his second game at sea level against the San Francisco Giants. Lauer lasted five innings, giving up seven hits and three runs.
The series in Mexico, considered a home game for the Padres, will be played at Estadio de Beisbol Monterrey. Third baseman Christian Villanueva, who was born in Guadalajara, will get to play in his home country. This will be the Padres’ third visit to Monterrey, and the most memorable included the “Snickers Game” in August of 1996. Third baseman Ken Caminiti, a victim of food poisoning, had two liters of fluids before the game, ate a Snickers bar, then proceeded to hit two home runs and drive in four in an 8-0 victory over the New York Mets.
During that same series, Fernando Valenzuela pitched for the Padres. The legendary pitcher began his career with the Dodgers and now broadcasts for LA. He will throw out the first pitch.