While the offense of the Dodgers continues to be highly scrutinized in the early portion of the year, it could be up to the club’s starting rotation to keep the team on the winning track when travelling to San Diego for a three-game set during the early part of the week.
The Dodgers are scheduled to throw southpaw Hyun-Jin Ryu in the opener on Monday night, followed by Alex Wood on Tuesday and righty Kenta Maeda in the finale on Wednesday. Both Wood and Maeda are coming off their worst outings of the year, while Ryu’s six-hit gem last Tuesday was one of his best performances in recent history.
Wood figures to improve from his previous start, which lasted only 3-2/3 innings as he was still feeling the effects of food poisoning. Fans will still be watching his fastball velocity, which remains several ticks below his 2017 All-Star form.
Maeda returns to a five-day cycle after a rocky outing of allowing five hits on five runs (two earned) in just 2-2/3 innings against Arizona last Friday,
For the Padres, lefty Robbie Erlin goes on Monday, having compiled an 0-1 record with a 2.38 ERA and a 0.79 WHIP over 11-1/3 innings—all in relief. Erlin is set to make a spot start for Luis Perdomo, who is serving a five-game ban for fighting. It’s Erlin’s first start since 2016 Tommy John surgery, as he has been strictly used as a reliever.
Right-hander Bryan Mitchell, sporting a 5.27 ERA while issuing 12 walks through 13-2/3 innings, goes on Tuesday, while righty Tyson Ross finishes things up in the finale. Ross has lasted six innings in all three starts and didn’t allow an earned run his last time out against the Giants last Friday.
The Los Angeles offense is still creeping along somewhat slowly. After climbing out of the bottom of the basement, the Dodgers now find themselves ranked 12th in the National League with 54 runs scored. Coincidentally, the Padres are ranked eighth with 66 runs scored. As far as team batting average goes, San Diego is ranked eighth with a ,234 mark, while the Dodgers are ranked fifth at .239—an indication of just how much the club is struggling to produce with runners on base.
The Dodgers have four players who are currently hitting over .300—Yasmani Grandal at .359, Chase Utley at .333, Cody Bellinger at .309 and Matt Kemp at .300. Chris Taylor has been doing the heavy lifting in the power department, as he leads the team with three home runs and eight RBI out of the leadoff spot.
Left fielder Jose Pirela spearheads the San Diego offensive attack with a .324 average and nine extra-base hits, while shortstop Freddy Galvis is first on the club with a .435 OBP. Third baseman Christian Villanueva leads the Friars in power numbers, as he has already tallied five long balls with 11 RBI. Old friend A.J. Ellis has appeared in five games already for San Diego, having gone 3-for-13 at the plate with two walks.
As far as the divisional standings go, the Diamondbacks are still in control of the division with an 11-4 record, followed by the Rockies, who are three games out with a 9-8 record. The Giants and the Padres are both five games back of the lead, while the Dodgers are still in last place with a 5-9 mark and 5-1/2 games behind the Snakes.
The first pitches for all three contests are slated for 7:10 p.m. San Diego time.