Getting a taste of playoff type baseball will be important for this Padres team as they head to Los Angeles to try to spoil the Dodgers 2018 playoff run. Eric Lauer was moved back to start the first game of the series and he could not be more pumped for the opportunity. Here is what the lefty had to say.
For the San Diego Padres, the 2018 season has been one of promise. The team has not lived up to some expectations that were placed upon them, but the youthful group has shown some real signs of possibly developing into a dangerous team.
It has been a rough 2018, but even the most cynical of fan can see the sun on the horizon.
As the season winds down, the Padres are at a point where they are trying to shove months of evaluation into only a handful of games. The team needs to witness certain players in different scenarios. Andy Green and his coaching staff want to see how these young players respond to adversity. This is wise for a rebuilding team full of youth.
Eric Lauer was supposed to pitch on Wednesday against the Giants. In an effort to give him the ball against the Dodgers in a playoff type atmosphere, he will start Friday’s first game of an important three-game set in Los Angeles. The crowd is going to be loud (once they finally get there) and he will face adversity almost immediately.
I caught up with Eric on Wednesday after he did some throwing in the outfield in preparation for his start against the boys in blue. My first question was about the start and if he was excited to face the Dodgers. “Its going to be cool, right?” He said that with a big smile on his face. The Los Angeles Dodgers are a team he knows well. Lauer has had success against them going 2-0 this year with a 0.61 ERA in 14 innings pitched.
We then transitioned into the start itself and the valuable lessons he will learn on Friday. “I think that was the point. To get us used to that situation (playoff type atmosphere) so we are used to it next year.” In order to get better, players like Lauer need to step up in big games. They need to experience the pressures of the sport that will only make them a better player. “Even though we will be on the other side, we will feel the atmosphere and know what it takes to get there.” He is looking forward to the start and is pumped for this opportunity. Los Angeles is deep in a playoff race and every game is vital for them.
We laughed a bit as I brought up the “nobody likes the Dodgers” interview he gave earlier in the year after a near complete game shutout. “Going into their place, I’m not sure if that is going to go over so well.” Not that he is concerned what the fans in L.A. will think. That is the point. The belligerent crowd will be all over Lauer. The Dodgers will surely use his quotes as fuel. Expect Los Angeles to come at him full throttle. Friday’s start will be fun and Lauer is pumped.