So many questions surround this weekend’s series between the Padres and Dodgers up in Los Angeles.
Will Tyson Ross pitch before Tuesday’s All-Star Game? Will San Diego be able to break Clayton Kershaw’s 36-inning scoreless streak? Will any Padres fans get stabbed in the Dodgers parking lot, and if so, whose fault will it be? Will Venable? (OK, we’re admittedly getting a little goofy with that last one.)
The Padres have the option to pull Ross from his start on Sunday, meaning he will be available for the Midsummer Classic in Minnesota. It he does start on Sunday, he will be ruled out for Tuesday and be a spectator. But this could pave the way for closer Huston Street to get the call to replace him. No word yet on this, so stay tuned.
As for Kershaw, he is chasing fellow Dodger Orel Hershiser’s record of 59 innings without allowing a run. While he’s still got a ways to go, it’s not unreasonable to see him blanking the punchless Padres lineup – which ranks last in the league in most major offensive categories. It also ranks last in the National League in OPS against leftys (.604). Current Padres hitters are hitting a combined .231 against Kershaw in their careers, which is actually better than the team’s cumulative .216 average (20 points lower than the second-worst team). So, no, don’t be surprised to see the streak remain intact after Thursday night’s game.
We will not speculate on any violence at Chavez Ravine this weekend, but would advise any fans to avoid wearing any Giants gear, just in case.
And for the final question, you better believe it! That’s all we’ll say about that. On to the weekend preview.
Thursday, 7:10 p.m.: Odrisamer Despaigne (R, 2-0, 0.92) vs. Clayton Kershaw (L, 10-2, 1.85)
If anyone can match Kershaw right now, it’s O-Dog, who has allowed just two earned runs in his first three career starts. FWIW, Kershaw was just 1-3 against Kershaw last year.
Friday, 7:10 p.m.: Jesse Hahn (R, 4-2, 2.34) vs. Dan Haren (R, 8-5, 4.06)
Despite having a four-game win streak snapped last weekend, Hahn still pitched well, allowing just three earned runs in seven innings against the Giants. Haren is coming off a start against the Indians where he allowed 10 hits and eight runs, but still struck out eight.
Saturday, 7:10 p.m.: Ian Kennedy (R, 7-9, 3.71) vs. Dodgers pitcher TBA
The last two starts have been Kennedy’s best of the season, with a pair of wins allowing just two earned runs.
Sunday, 1:10 p.m.: Padres pitcher TBA vs. Hyun-Jin Ryu (L, 9-5, 3.65)
Not sure what the options are if the Padres do pull Ross from his start. Maybe Donn Roach? Ryu got the win at Petco in June, scattering four hits over six innings.
What’s at stake: We’ve seen this before from the Dodgers, who were 9 ½ games out last year before going on a second-half tear and running away from the division. They’re currently tied with the reeling Giants, and there’s no reason to think they won’t take charge again. However, they have only been playing .500 ball over the past two weeks and just dropped a pair to the Detroit Tigers, so it’s not like they’re dominating anyone.
As for the Padres, they are an even 10 games back of the big two. Taking three of four this weekend would be a fantastic way to roll into the All-Star break.
This is the first time the teams have squared off in LA this year. The Dodgers have taken four of six at Petco.
Who to watch:
Padres: Here’s your stat of the day. The Padres have had 18 different players hit home runs this year – most in the majors. Of course, they only have 63 total long balls, dead last in baseball. Two of the hottest players in the lineup went yard on Wednesday. Seth Smith hit his team-high 10th, and also shares the team lead with 27 RBIs. Jake Goebbert hit his first career homer, and continues to play well enough to stay in the lineup with a .333 average and .919 OPS. Chase Headley, Smith’s co-leader in RBIs, is breaking out of a season-long slump with 11 hits in his last six games, including a pair of four-hit games.
Dodgers: Right-fielder Yasiel Puig is headed to Minnesota as an All-Star starter, and with good reason. He has 12 homers, 50 RBI and a .307 average – all would be leading the Padres. Dee Gordon is also heading to Minny as a reserve second-baseman after stealing an astounding 42 bases in the first half. First-baseman Adrian Gonzalez leads the team with 14 homers and 58 RBIs.
Coming up: The Friars return home after the All-Star break to face the New York Mets next weekend before hitting the road for a week to face the Cubs and Braves.