Padres Series Preview: Padres Head to L.A. to Battle Dodgers

Credit: UT San Diego
Credit: UT San Diego

The San Diego Padres are coming off a rough series in the Bay Area where all three losses were real heart breakers. The Padres could  have easily won any one of those three games.

After losing five consecutive games now the Friars go to Dodger Stadium to face the Los Angeles Dodgers for a three game set this weekend. This is probably the worst possible opponent the Padres could have right now as the Dodgers are not only a good team, but completely obliterated the Padres in the opening series at Petco Park.

Let’s not get into too many details of the nightmarish scenes from the opening series as it is truthfully too painful to reminisce that series. Instead of looking at the past, let us look at the present. The Padres are in last place currently and the Dodgers are in first, but in reality the Dodgers haven’t been all that great so far and the Padres haven’t been all that bad. Though their record dictates they have been.

The Dodgers really are not looking too sharp with just a 12-11 record. To add to the painful beginning of the year, the Dodgers just got swept in a four game series against the Miami Marlins at Dodger Stadium. The way things stand there is no reason that the Padres can’t be competitive in this series against the Dodgers. Another thing to consider is the Padres (while in last place) are just four and a half out of first place. So this series is actually vital for the Padres. While it seems that the Padres are just a team with no hope, The N.L. West altogether hasn’t played well and this can be an important series. If the team can get a positive result out of it, we can certainly make things real interesting in the N.L. West.

Pitching Matchups

Cesar Vargas vs Alex Wood Friday 7:10 PM

Colin Rea vs Ross Stripling Saturday 6:10 PM

Drew Pomeranz vs Clayton Kershaw Sunday 1:10 PM

When you see these pitching matchups it really brings me hope that the Padres can actually win this series. A big positive is the fact that we won’t have to face Kenta Maeda who threw an absolute gem earlier this year at Petco Park. The Japanese pitcher even got his first career home run.

Friday’s game is really one that the Padres should be winning. Young Mexican Pitcher Cesar Vargas will be on the mound for the Padres after looking phenomenal in his MLB debut in which he went five innings against the St. Louis Cardinals and only allowed a run. Let us hope that the bullpen can do Vargas some justice this time around and not allow 10 runs like they did against the Cardinals.

Alex Wood will be the man on the mound for the Dodgers and he hasn’t really looked all that great with an ERA of 6.00. Wood’s last start was at Coors Field and he allowed five runs in just five innings of work. The Padres offense for the most part has looked solid recently and hopefully we can take advantage of the way Alex Wood has been pitching.

We then go to Game two which can really go either way as both Colin Rea and Ross Stripling are young and we don’t really know what we can expect out of them. Stripling has looked solid since coming up to the majors and has only allowed five runs total in his last two starts. On the other hand Rea has been up and down this season and it’s unclear how he will perform at Dodger Stadium. Game two can really go either way.

Game three will be a very nice matchup between two of the most dominant lefties in the National League, Clayton Kershaw of course and…Drew Pomeranz? Yes Drew Pomeranz has been our best starting pitcher so far and he is certainly capable of getting the W on Sunday if the bats can do anything against Clayton Kershaw. Sure it sounds like a difficult task and it really is, this will be a tough game that will boil down to the Padres offense. All three of these games should be worth watching and we shouldn’t see any of the scenes we saw in the opening series. Hopefully.

Credit: AP Photo
Credit: AP Photo

Players To Watch

Wil Myers

Myers only went 3-13 in the Giants series, but unless you’ve been living under a rock you know that Wil is on a 12 game hitting streak. Despite that rough series in the Bay Area, Myers is still batting over .300 with five home runs and is an early all-star candidate for the Padres. Myers is more than capable of keeping the streak going for the first two games but will definitely have to put in work against Clayton Kershaw to extend it to 15 games.

Adrian Gonzalez

This Former Friar is the Dodgers best player batting at .306 and leading the team in home runs with three and in RBI with 15. To add to it he has also been a menace to the Pads in his career. The Chula Vista native has a batting average of .316 with 15 home runs in 69 games against the Friars. In the opening series alone “El Titan” had four hits in 10 at bats with three RBIs. Adrian is definitely a player to look out for in any series when he comes up against his hometown team.

Alexei Ramirez

After a very slow start the “Cuban Missile” has picked it up quite nicely. In this last series against the Giants Alexei went 5-11 with a double and an RBI. I always liked the signing of Alexei Ramirez as I’ve always rated him as a player and it’s nice to see him starting to prove his worth to the ball club. A surprising thing is that Alexei still hasn’t gotten a home run in a Padres uniform. While Ramirez isn’t necessarily known as a power hitter he sure is capable of hitting a few bombs. Maybe Alexei can finally “touch them all” in this series.

The Padres bullpen

The Padres bullpen has been struggling as of late and has even cost the Padres some ballgames. If the Padres want to have a successful series the bullpen will need to step it up and throw some scoreless frames. While the bullpen has been struggling there are some real bright spots to look at in the bullpen like our closer Fernando Rodney who hasn’t allowed a run and has struck out eight batters in seven and a third innings of work.

Another huge bright spot in the pen has been Ryan Buchter who has an ERA of 0.93 and 14 strikeouts in nine and two-thirds innings of work. While there is bright spots there also have been a lot of negatives in the bullpen like Kevin Quackenbush who in 10 and a third innings has given up three home runs, eight earned runs, and five walks. Another member of the bullpen who has struggled with the long ball is Carlos Villanueva who has already given up four home runs this season. The bullpen will have to perform in this series to not only win games but for some of these guys to remain on the team they will need to perform.

Matchups

Wil Myers vs Clayton Kershaw

As mentioned before Wil may have trouble keeping the streak alive in the third game of this series. In 11 at bats Myers doesn’t have a single hit against the lefty. To add to it he has struck out six times against Kershaw. Myers will have a tough task on Sunday to keep his hitting streak going if he is to keep it until then.

Yasmani Grandal and Howie Kendrick vs Drew Pomeranz

In eight at bats the former Friar (Grandal) has three hits against our lefty. One of those hits being a homer and another one being a double. Quite a small frame just eight at bats but still worth noting. Another player who has gone yard against Pomeranz is Howie Kendrick who just has two hits in eight at bats against Pomeranz but of course one of those hits is a homer. Although Grandal and Kendrick have a history on Pomeranz, I don’t think either of the two will get to our lefty on Sunday.

Storylines

Will the Padres score a run?

Yes! The Padres should be able to finally get on the scoreboard against the Dodgers this season in this series. Like I mentioned before, the Frairs are even capable of winning this series against the Dodgers. If the Marlins can get a four game sweep against the Dodgers, why can’t the Padres win this series? This series will be not be easy but just looking at the circumstances and the pitching matchups. If you do, you will see the odds aren’t completely towards the Pads favor, but they are a lot closer than you might think.

How will Cesar Vargas follow up on his debut?

Cesar Vargas looked stunning in his debut against the St. Louis Cardinals only allowing a run in five innings of work. Now remember this is the same team that scored 10 on our bullpen in that same day, and scored eight runs the next day. Leaving the Cardinals to just a run in your major league debut is no joke. Vargas is going to face another tough opponent and this time away from home. It will be interesting to see how the young Mexican pitcher can fair in the stadium where Fernando Valenzuela used to dominate. If Vargas can keep it up, I don’t see why Andy Green wouldn’t want to have him up on the major league club even after all the injuries are sorted out. We will see.

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Francisco Velasco
Francisco, 21, Chula Vista area, Journalism student at Southwestern College. I have been a Padres fan all my life, did most of the series previews and recaps in the Padres' 2016 season for EVT. Now I focus more on the Tijuana Xolos soccer team, get press passes for every home game and write consistently about the team for EVT.

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