July 12, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcher Ian Kennedy (22) pitches the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Kennedy & Padres Open Up Series Against Rival Dodgers

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Following a hard fought series with the St. Louis Cardinals, the Padres’ earned a much deserved day off Monday. However, the road for the Friars does not get easier as they begin a three game series with their NL West rival Los Angeles Dodgers tonight in Los Angeles.

The Padres have been one of the best teams in baseball since the All-Star break posting the second best record in the  NL with a 17-11 record trailing only the Washington Nationals.

Ian Kennedy (9-10, 3.54 ERA) will look to get the Padres back on track when he takes the mound. He has been solid in his last three starts since returning from a brief oblique strain. Even though his control has been a little off, he is making the big pitch at the right time. In his last start, Kennedy went six innings allowing three runs and striking out eight.

Kennedy has been been consistent since the end of June, and he is on pace to record over 200 strikeouts for the first the first time in his career. He average 9.63 strikeout per nine innings this season is third in team history behind Andy Benes and Jake Peavy. Over the course of fifteen starts against the Dodgers, he has posted a 5-5 record with 3.99 ERA while striking out  71.

The Dodgers will counter with Kevin Correia (1-0, 1.50 ERA) who was acquired on Aug 9th from the Minnesota Twins. In his last start, the former Padre went six innings allowing one run on four hits to record his first win this year in the National League. This will be the third time Correia will face the Padres in 2014 when he met them earlier this month in inter-league play.

The Padres offense will need to continue to produce looking for both outfielder Seth Smith and Jake Goebbert to continue their hot hitting. Goebbert has record RBI triples in consecutive games while Smith has been the Padres most consistent hitter posting a .424 batting average and 11 RBI on the road since June 23rd.

The Padres already announced that they have optioned right-hander Jesse Hahn to Double-A San Antonio and called up lefty Frank Garces. With the Padres already preparing for next season, look for new General Manager A.J Preller to use the rest of the season to begin evaluating their current prospects.

First pitch is scheduled for 10:10 pm PDT.

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Tags: Game Preview Ian Kennedy San Diego Padres Seth Smith

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