It was a pretty good weekend series for the Los Angeles Dodgers against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Dodgers took three of four games, extending their record to 7-3 on the season and their current road trip record to 5-1.
The most important thing that happened on Sunday was the return of Clayton Kershaw. The Dodgers’ veteran looked like he did when he was in his Ace form, going five and two-thirds innings, allowing only three hits, all of which were singles, issuing no walks and striking out six. 70 percent of his 81 pitches were strikes, and he looked in control the whole time. His fastball was touching 93 mph, something it had not done in all of 2019.
“The four-seams away he was throwing me in the first inning, he hasn’t in the past thrown me a lot of those”, Diamondbacks first baseman Christian Walker said after the game. “They seemed like they had maybe a little bit more finish through the zone.”
It appears as if the long rest of his arm and body, coupled with what he learned at Driveline last off-season, have helped Kershaw regain some of his signature pitching. As long as his back still feels good in between starts, this version of Kershaw will again be a joy to watch.
And so the Dodgers now are in San Diego to take on the Padres. Coming into Monday’s game, the Padres sit at 6-4, third place in a tight NL West division. They have the highest average runs per game of any team in MLB at 5.9. The Dodgers have the lowest team ERA in all of MLB at 1.84, and a run differential of +30. The Dodgers had great pitching in the hitter friendly parks of Chase Field and Minute Maid Park, while the Padres just finished up a series at Coors Field in Denver, where they scored 15 runs, but lost two of the three games.
Monday night’s pitching matchup looks to be stellar. Walker Buehler will take the mound for the Dodgers, and Chris Paddack will start for the Padres. The tall righty made his debut last season and impressed. In two games so far this year, he’s allowed only two runs in 11 innings of work. Over his last six starts dating back to last season, he’s allowed only four runs over 42 innings.
With the Dodgers seeing all right handed starters, Joc Pederson should be given more of a chance to show his power. Mookie Betts will most likely be out for Monday’s game after hurting his left middle finger on a awkward swing, giving AJ Pollock’s hot bat a chance to remain in the lineup. We will also see if Corey Seager is well enough to return to the lineup. He may be the DH while giving his quad more of a chance to rest.
As for the Padres, Tommy Pham, Fernando Tatis Jr.and Manny Machado all are dangerous bats for the Dodgers pitching staff to deal with. Trent Grisham has three homers so far in the young season, and Pham has five stolen bases and a .969 OPS.
All games will be at 6:10 Pacific time.