Mar 30, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera (2) scores ahead of a play by Los Angeles Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis (17) in the eighth inning on the opening day baseball game at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
The Padres (31-42) will host the Los Angeles Dodgers (40-34) for the second time this year, and the first time since the opening series. The Dodgers are 4 games back of the first-place Giants. They are coming off of a no-hitter by Clayton Kershaw. Luckily, the Padres will avoid Kershaw in this series.
Game 1 on Friday will feature Ian Kennedy (5-8, 3.72 ERA) against Dan Haren (7-4, 3.54 ERA). Kennedy has struggled a bit in his last 2 starts, but leads the team in strikeouts. Haren has pitched at least 6 innings in every start but one this year.
Game 2 has Tyson Ross (6-6, 3.27 ERA) against Josh Beckett (4-4, 2.49 ERA). Ross has had a couple rocky starts lately, but he has struck out 20 in his last 3 starts. Beckett is 1-3 since his no-hitter with a 2.63 ERA.
The Dodgers have Hyun-Jin Ryu (8-3, 3.18 ERA) slated for the finale. Ryu is 3rd in wins in the NL, he has won 5 of his past 6 starts. The Padres have Eric Stults (2-9, 5.76 ERA) set to pitch against Ryu. Opponents are hitting .322 off Stults and he has a 8.35 ERA in his last 4 starts.
The Dodgers lead the MLB in stolen bases, that is much to do with Dee Gordon, who already has 37. He leads the majors. Former Padre Adrian Gonzalez leads the team with 12 HRs, and is tied for the team lead in RBI. However, he has struggled of late, letting his average drop to .252. Yasiel Puig continues to be the best, consistent hitter with 11 HRs, 42 RBI and a .325 average.
The keys to a series win are to contain Gordon on the base paths, keep Gonzalez in the yard (since he knows his way around Petco) and score at least 3 runs in each game. The offense needs to continue how it finished against Seattle.