After the lopsided loss last night at Dodger Stadium, the Dodger have now dropped three games in a row and are on the verge of being swept by San Diego at home. If they fall to the Padres tonight, they will also dip below .500 on the season. There’s all sorts of problems going on with the Dodgers right now. The starting rotation has been hit with injury, and Chris Capuano will undergo an MRI on his strained calf today. Even though the Dodgers will not need a fifth starter for around eight days, they will need to have a plan in place if Cappy is headed to the disabled list. Possible replacements could be Ted Lilly, who just pitched a rehab start for Albuquerque on Tuesday or Stephen Fife who is currently in Albuquerque’s starting rotation.
They bullpen is overused, and this not only has to do with Cappy’s early exit yesterday. The first issue is that the Dodgers do not have a long-man to eat innings in situations where a starter is unable to go deep into the game since Capuano has been promoted to the starting rotation once Greinke was injured. Last season Jamey Wright did an admirable job as the long-man or “mop-up man” during some of these situations which are bound to occur throughout the season. Another issue that has been problematic for some time now is Don Mattingly‘s mismanagement of the bullpen. Often times he uses relievers for just one inning thus burning through many arms per game. The Dodgers are going to have to add some middle relief at some point, preferably a reliever who can pitch more than just one inning.
The horrible offense is really the biggest culprit during this three-game losing streak. The Dodgers are just inept in hitting with runners in scoring position, and they have stranded tons of runners so far this season. The lack of speed in the lineup besides Carl Crawford has really hurt their chances of scoring precious runs as well. With Matt Kemp not faring well at the plate, we lose not only our crucial third hitter in the lineup but his speed on the base path as well. Mattingly might need to shake up the lineup and slot Kemp lower for the time being, and we will touch on that issue in a future post.
Clayton Kershaw picked up the loss last time out against the D-backs after the offense failed to give him any run support. His curveball was off, but he still kept the Dodgers in the
game. He allowed 3 earned runs on 6 hits with 9 strikeouts and 3 walks over 7 1/3 innings at Chase Field. Kersh has pitched successfully versus San Diego in the past, and he has a 8-3 record with a 2.28 ERA against the Friars in his career. He’ll have to watch for Nick Hundley and Will Venable who are both hitting over .300 against the southpaw. Chris Denorfia has gone deep against him in the past, and Denorfia gave the Dodgers a bad time last night while picking up three hits.
Tyson Ross, a right-hander, will go to the mound for the Padres. He’s looking for his first win on the season, and last time out against Colorado he allowed 3 earned runs on 5 hits with 8 strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings in the no-decision. The Dodgers have never faced Ross. He was acquired by the Padres in a four-player trade with the Athletics during the offseason.
-Clayton Kershaw needs just one more strikeout to amass 1,000 career whiffs. He has 25 strikeouts so far this season in 23 1/3 innings pitched.
-Chase Headley is expected to return to the Padres lineup on Wednesday. He suffered a fractured thumb on March 17th during Spring Training.
-Matt Kemp continues to struggle, and he has now struck out 17 times. He has just 10 hits in 54 at-bats.
The 7:10 p.m. game will air on KCAL. After this series concludes the Dodgers will leave for a East Coast road trip which will have them play in Baltimore and New York. If they lose tonight, the plane ride will be very tense.