With the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres meeting seven times in ten days, none of the games have lived up short of the type.
In a tight one-run game in the latest series opener on Thursday, the Dodgers were outlasted by the Padres, 3-2. The loss was the first defeat at home this season for the Dodgers. Los Angeles had a big chance with the bases loaded and one out in the eighth inning, but Sheldon Neuse, who hit his first major league home run earlier in the game, hit a rocket to the right side of the infield that resulted in an inning-ending double play.
There were numerous balls hit off Dodger bats for which the Padres defense made some stellar plays throughout the evening. The story of the past couple of games has been the lack of run production from the Dodgers, but manager Dave Roberts said he was not too concerned about the offensive struggles.
Much anticipation has surrounded this seemingly new NL West rivalry stretching back to the early days of the Hot Stove last winter. So far, both teams have delivered on the entertainment front for the fans. After this series, though, the two teams do not meet until late June.
We are approaching the end of the first month of the season, and even though some fans may think Los Angeles might be struggling right now, the Dodgers still hold the best record in the majors at 14-5.
In the second game of the series on Friday night, Dodger left-hander Clayton Kershaw will face off against Padres right-hander Yu Darvish, who will make his first start at Dodger Stadium since the whole Astros cheating scandal was made public. Darvish had made one start with the Cubs at Dodger Stadium before the scandal fully came to light and was booed by the Los Angeles crowd.
The two pitchers matched up last weekend on Saturday, a contest in which both pitchers threw well. Kershaw pitched six innings in the victory, giving up only two hits and no runs while striking out eight. Darvish went seven innings, allowing one hit and one run while striking out nine batters. The one run allowed was a bases-loaded walk to Kershaw.
Chris Taylor and Zach McKinstry were both scratched Thursday with lower back stiffness and were unavailable to pinch-hit. Per Roberts, they may be back in the lineup Friday, depending on how well they respond to treatment.
Cody Bellinger still remains on the injured list with a hairline fracture on his tibia, but he is making small progress. He took live batting practice Thursday afternoon.
With the Dodgers and Padres tied 2-2 in matchups so far this season, we will see who takes the brief lead Friday night.
The first pitch is scheduled for tonight at 7:10 p.m. Pacific time.