Since the San Francisco Giants have not been lately what they were in the early part of this decade, the Dodgers apparently have a new rival, or so fans of the San Diego Padres would tell you.
The Dodgers head into San Diego this weekend to play the Padres for the first time this season. Los Angeles is in first place in the NL West, 1.5 games ahead of the Padres in the standings, who currently hold an 18-14 record.
The biggest storyline, besides the new rivalry and fight for NL West supremacy, is the Dodgers facing former teammate Manny Machado. Even though he only spent four months in the Dodgers organization, Machado left a huge mark on the Dodgers’ 2018 season.
Manny signed a 10-year, $300 million deal with the Padres in February. So far in this young season, he’s batting .235/.335/.484/.818 with five home runs and 12 RBI. His defense, of course, remains stellar.
The Padres are lead in most offensive categories by their rookie phenom Fernando Tatis Jr. He leads the team in batting average (the only Padre at .300), slugging, OPS, and stolen bases. However, the Dodgers will not see him in this series as he is on the IL with a hamstring injury sustained stretching to make a play at second base last Sunday. Will Myers and Eric Hosmer still remain big offensive threats even if their stats are not indicative of that at the moment.
The Padres briefly overtook the Dodgers in the standings in April, then went on a five game losing streak where they were swept by the Colorado Rockies in a two game series and then lost the first three out of four against the Cincinnati Reds. They have rebounded, going 7-3 in their last 10 games.
As mentioned before, the Padres see themselves as a big threat to the Dodgers, and have lined up an all-lefty starting rotation for this series. Friday night’s game will see Clayton Kershaw take the mound for the Dodgers, taking on the young hurler Eric Lauer. The 23 year old has a 2-3 record, with a 4.41 ERA in six games. He has allowed only five home runs, and has a .262 batting average against with 29 strikeouts.
Saturday’s early evening game will see Rich Hill make his second start of the season going up against Joey Lucchesi, both pitchers who had rough innings in their last outings. In the third inning against the Washington Nationals, Lucchesi allowed four runs on five hits and a walk. The bases were loaded when he was able to end the inning on a strikeout. He is 3-2 on the season with a 4.94 ERA and 34 strikeouts.
Sunday’s matinee will see Kenta Maeda going for the Dodgers and Nick Margevicius for the Padres. The 22-year-old rookie for the Padres is 2-3 with a 3.23 ERA and 26 Ks. He threw 95 pitches over 5 and two-thirds innings in his last outing against the Atlanta Braves, gathering only three strikeouts and allowing three runs, one earned.
The Dodgers look to get their offense back on track against the Padres and put some distance between them in the standings. First pitch for the opener is slated for 7:10 PST.