After an emphatic sweep of the Colorado Rockies and winners of six straight games, the Los Angeles Dodgers prepare for their first highly-anticipated series of the season.
The Dodgers stand at 11-2, and are the first team to hit ten wins this year. The Padres sit at 8-4 after most recently splitting a two-game series with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Thursday night, the Dodgers completed a three-game sweep of division rival Colorado. Max Muncy hit a three-game home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to seal the deal for Los Angeles. Veteran pitcher David Price notched his first save of the year, which was only the second of his entire career, with the last coming in 2008.
The Padres are expecting Fernando Tatis Jr. to make his return to the lineup for this series. Tatis was placed on the ten-day injured list with a shoulder injury on April 6, but those close to the team believe he’ll be activated for the opener.
Los Angeles outfielder Cody Bellinger is eligible to come off the injured list during this series as well, but it looks like that won’t be the case. Bellinger was placed on the injured list with a calf injury last Friday retroactive to April 6.
“I’m not going to say zero, but it’s close to that number,” said Dodger manager David Roberts when asked about the possibility of Bellinger playing this weekend.
Dodgers right-handed reliever Brusdar Graterol is reported to be close to a return. Graterol has been on the injured list since the beginning of the season. He is currently on the Dodgers taxi squad for the weekend series. Joe Kelly is still to make his season debut as well but that could be a few weeks ahead, according to Roberts.
The pitching matchups for this weekend are quite interesting, as many baseball fans have been looking forward to watching perhaps the two most talented clubs in the National League. Friday’s matchup will be Buehler vs. lefty Ryan Weathers, followed by Kershaw against righty Yu Darvish on Saturday, and Bauer vs. left-hander Blake Snell on Sunday.
Friday will be Buehler’s third start of the early season. His last start was the Dodgers home opener against the Nationals when he pitched six scoreless innings and allowing six hits while striking out four batters.
The 21-year-old Weathers will make the first MLB start of his career after previously pitching in relief earlier this season. In six innings of work, he’s allowed one run on two hits while striking out seven batters.
Friday’s contest will be the first matchup of 19 meetings between these two clubs throughout the regular season, as the division rivalry has steadily progressed over the past year, especially after the Padres have made numerous player upgrades.
The first pitch for the opener is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. Pacific time.