The Dodgers travel to San Diego to face the Padres in a 3 game series beginning Friday. Kenny Shulsen at Lasorda’s Lair and Ernie Padaon of the Chicken Friars have teamed up to bring you an in-depth look at this division series. We’ll look at the pitching matchups, hot/cold players, an injury report and finish with a 6 pack of questions, 3 from each team.
Los Angeles Dodgers:
2011 Record: 3–3, 3rd in N.L. West (1.5 GB)
San Diego Padres:
2011 Record: 3-2, 2nd in N.L. West (1.0 GB)
April 8: Ted Lilly 0-1 7.71 ERA vs. Clayton Richard 1-0 4.50 ERA, 7:05 PM PT
Lilly had a shaky season debut vs. the Giants. A balk triggered a three-run inning, and he lacked fastball command, which led to a fifth-inning departure giving up 4 runs on 6 hits. He’s 1-2 with a 2.77 ERA at PETCO Park.
Richard just did his normal work of business and pitched 6 strong innings while getting the victory over the St. Louis Cardinals. The offense scrapped together 11 runs in the game and Richard had a pretty laid back outing.
April 9: Hiroki Kuroda 1-0 3.86 ERA vs. Dustin Mosley 0-1 1.29 ERA, 5:35 PM PT
Kuroda was strong early in his first start, after allowing a second-inning solo homer, Kuroda retired 14 in a row. He was 1-2 against the Padres in 2010.
Moseley was a tough-luck pitcher against the St. Louis Cardinals throwing 7 innings and only giving up a run, but still taking the loss. He only had 2 strikeouts in the game, but he forced batter to hit the ball on the ground and earned this second start with his strong pitching performance.
April 10: John Ely (First start) vs. Aaron Harang 1-0 1.50 ERA, 1:05 PM PT
Ely will be taking former Padre Jon Garland’s spot in the rotation and will most likely be sent back down to AAA after the start as Garland is expected to be back for his next scheduled start. Ely did not make a start against the Padres in 2010.
The San Diego native pitched the Padres home opener and threw 6 strong innings while striking out 6 batters in the game. He gave up only one run and took the victory. He definitely showed that he will enjoy pitching in Petco Park and will use the defense to make plays for him.
Los Angeles: Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Hiroki Kuroda
Matt Kemp is one of the few Dodgers who is making solid contact at all, he leads the team in extra base hits, stolen bases (he has the teams only steal in 6 games) runs, RBI, home runs and surprisingly walks. Andre Ethier leads the team with 7 hits, but all of them have been singles.
Clayton Kershaw has been by far the Dodgers best pitcher, but the Padres will not see him in this series. Kuroda was solid in his first start against the giants. He is 5-4 in his career against the Padres with an ERA right around 4.50.
San Diego: Nick Hundley
Hundley is just smashing the ball right now hitting .500 in the first 5 games of the season. He has hit a homerun and driven in 5 runs from the 8 spot in the lineup. 4 of his 9 hits have been for extra bases.
Los Angeles: James Loney and Juan Uribe
Dodger fans are growing anxious about Loney, who was almost dealt to the Padres along with a package of prospects for Adrian Gonzalez at the trade deadline a couple of years back. However the Dodgers did not pull the trigger on the deal and you have to think they regret that they didn’t. Loney is off to a 4 for 23 start for a meager .174 average. The only positive is he hit his first home run Tuesday in Colorado; it took him 23 games to hit his first HR in 2010.
The Dodgers big free agent acquisition Juan Uribe is off to a .133 start with 2 singles in 15 at bats. He did miss a few games after being hit just above the elbow by Tim Lincecum on opening day. The Dodgers sorely need Uribe to produce to justify his contract and aid a struggling offense.
San Diego: The whole lineup except Nick Hundley
The whole Padres lineup has struggled to get anything going at the plate. Brad Hawpe is 1-for-14, Ryan Ludwick is 2-for-17, and the rest of the lineup has just not been able to get anything going. The strong pitching and timely hitting has been the reason for a winning record at this point.
15-day DL: Casey Blake just came off of the DL on Tuesday and had 2 hits an RBI and a run scored, he also had an error on his only chance which was a routine play. Also on the DL are Jon Garland (hoping to be back to pitch April 15) Dioner Navarro (who will be out until the middle of May) and Vicente Padilla who suffered a setback in his last throwing session and likely won’t be back until mid-May, and Jay Gibbons (Contact lens problems no date set for his return). This list speaks to how weak the Dodgers bench is right now that people like Jay Gibbons and Dioner Navarro are on the DL and the team is actually hoping they return, when really neither has been a productive major leaguer for several years.
15-day DL: Ace pitcher Mat Latos will be coming off the disabled list to pitch on Monday and will not be part of this series. Lefty reliever Joe Thatcher has suffered set backs with his throwing arm and will not be available for a few weeks.Utility player Eric Patterson is recovering quickly and may be brought up during this series to add more speed and versatility onto the roster.
Series Six-Pack: Six Dodgers/Padres Questions
We’ll be asking the opposing team’s writer 3 questions regarding what to expect from each team in an effort to get more information to you, the readers, look for our answers to be posted on here and on their site as well. As always, anything that was covered by either site is an invitation for any kind of feedback from you in the comments section below!
Dodgers Questions from Ernie at Chicken Friars:
1. What type of baseball will the new manager Don Mattingly preach to the team?
Kenny: Mattingly preached all spring that the Dodgers would focus on fundamentals and be aggressive on the base paths. So far they have 1 stolen base to show for it and curiously they did not pinch run for catcher Rod Barajas in the 9th inning of their last game which cost them. They have not displayed a supposed focus on fundamentals through their first 6 games.
2. What weaknesses do you see in the Dodgers for this season?
Kenny: Offense, offense and offense. This is a team that looks like they will struggle to score runs all year long. This they should be playing small ball, bunting, hit and run etc…but again there has been very little of this.
3. What have the Dodgers done to improve from last season?
Kenny: On paper their bullpen is deeper and more talented than last year, and once Jon Garland returns from the DL they should run out 5 solid starting pitchers.
Padres Questions from Kenny at Lasorda’s Lair
1. The Padres seem to resemble the Dodgers on paper, quality pitching, suspect offense, who is going to step up and fill the void left by the departure of Adrian Gonzalez?
Ernie: The slack has to be picked up by everyone else on the roster. We don’t have a player that can put up the numbers that A-Gon gave us, but Ryan Ludwick will need to put up some good numbers this year. Will Venable will also be a big key at the top of the order to get on base and find ways to score runs.
2. Are there any prospects that you think will make an impact for the Padres sometime during the 2011 season?
Ernie: If Brad Hawpe and Jorge Cantu struggle at the plate, then we may see hard-hitting 1B Anthony Rizzo come up from Triple-A Tuscon to take over the position. He was acquired as part of the Adrian Gonzalez trade and is almost ready for major league action.
3. The Padres ownership went through a messy divorce a few years back. Do you have any advice for Dodger fans about how to weather the storm and how would you assess the current ownership situation for the Padres?
Ernie: Good luck! Just stick through it and just hope that the guys can produce out on the field. It sucks and we lucked out that the new ownership that took over made some good changes to bring over a competitive team.