After a much needed off day to regroup, the Dodgers will finally continue their regularly scheduled season program by playing the final two games of the started and paused series against the Padres in San Diego. The Dodgers dropped the first game on Sunday after Brian Wilson imploded in the bottom of the eighth inning. It wasn’t all Wilson’s fault. The middle of the Dodgers lineup failed to produce, and the Dodgers only mustered one run off Andrew Cashner and company. The Dodgers wasted a solid and gutsy start from Hyun-jin Ryu who wasn’t involved in the decision. The Dodgers will restart the series on Tuesday afternoon at Petco Park as two pitching foes match up in what is sure to be a touch and go game.
Last season Ian Kennedy was the catalyst in the epic brawl between the Dodgers and the D-backs. It was last June 11th when Kennedy plunked Yasiel Puig in the face with a pitch, and that lead to a huge benches clearing brawl leaving six players ejected including Kennedy. Greinke retaliated by hitting Miguel Montero in the back with a pitch which led Kennedy to in turn bean Greinke in the shoulder with a pitch. Ian Kennedy later received a 10-game suspension for his behavior. A little over a month after the on field fight between the Dodgers and Snakes, Arizona dealt Kennedy to San Diego in exchange for Joe Thatcher and minor leaguer Matt Stites. I’m not sure if Kennedy’s antics spurred the D-backs to trade him away, but Kennedy had long been Arizona’s ace.
Now Kennedy finds himself on the Padres, and the Dodgers had their own bad blood with the Friars last season as well. Carlos Quentin thuggishly provoked Greinke and it ended in the Dodger pitcher suffering a broken collar bone. With a fresh new season upon us, let’s hope tempers have been squelched and there won’t be any further brawls which ultimately hurt both teams when they lose players to injury and suspensions.
In his career, Kennedy is 5-4 against the Dodgers with a 4.12 ERA in 11 starts. As a fly ball pitcher, Kennedy has been very successful at Petco Park. He is 7-2 with a 2.41 ERA over 12 career starts down south.
Andre Ethier has hit Kennedy very well in the past. Ethier went 0-for-4 on Sunday, but Ethier had a very good Spring. What is hilarious is that pitcher Paul Maholm has a homerun against Kennedy in the past.
The Dodgers’ middle of the order guys were not to be heard from on Sunday night. The Dodgers’ 1-5 batters only had one hit between them, the RBI single from lead-off hitter Carl Crawford. If the Dodgers want to score some run support for their pitching staff, the heart of the lineup will need to ramp things up.
Brian Wilson was shaky in the set-up spot on Sunday, but Chris Perez and Paco Rodriguez came in and mopped up the bearded and bewildered reliever’s mess. In order to get the game to Kenley Jansen, the Dodgers are going to need to produce more from their potentially very potent lineup. The bullpen is not going to be perfect this season, yet there is some expectation for the relievers to be able to hold on to a lead albeit even a one-run lead if needed.
Zack Greinke’s Spring was slowed due to a right calf sprain causing the starter to miss the Australia trip to rehab back in the states. Greinke made 78 pitches against the Angels during the Freeway Series while allowing 3 runs over 6 innings. Greinke will need to have a solid outing in order to even out the Dodgers rotation after Clayton Kershaw‘s disabled list stint and Dan Haren‘s less than spectacular Freeway Series start.
Greinke is 1-0 at Petco Park with a 1.50 ERA in 3 starts. In fact, Greinke has never lost to San Diego. He is 3-0 with a 1.74 ERA in 5 starts against the Friars. Carlos Quentin, who has given Greinke the most trouble out of the San Diego lineup, is disabled right now with knee issues.
The Dodgers would hope to start off the season strong and make April something to remember instead of repeating the errs of the abysmal
first two months of last season. The Dodgers’ rich roster has very high expectations, but there are still kinks to be worked out. With Kershaw on the disabled list, the Dodgers will need to band together to get things done without him. Hyun-jin Ryu poured his heart into his start on Sunday, but the Dodgers failed to give him any run support and lapsed defensively as well at times.
Prediction: Hanley Ramirez goes deep
The 3:40 p.m. PT game on Tuesday will air on SportsNet LA and FOX Deportes San Diego. Check back here after the game for our postgame coverage.