Jul 5, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne (40) pitches during the first inning against the San Francisco Giants at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
The Padres have been playing better as of late. Despite losing the past 2 games, they’ve still won 6 of their last 10 games. They haven’t exactly jumped back into the playoff hunt, but this may be the best the team has played in 2014. Now they’ll be facing their biggest challenge of the year when they face the Dodgers’ in the first of a four game series.
That challenge, of course, is 2 time Cy Young Award winner, Clayton Kershaw (10-2, 1.85 ERA). There isn’t much I can say about Kershaw that hasn’t already been said. He’s currently on a 36 inning scoreless streak that spans over his last 5 outings. In those five starts he’s 5-0 with a 0.23 ERA while striking out 51 and allowing just 5 walks and 21 hits, and he mixed in a no hitter in there too. Those numbers are simply unreal. He has flat out dominated everyone he has faced and tonight he’ll get his first crack at the worst offense in baseball. Hopefully, the Padres can be the team that breaks through against Kershaw and snaps the scoreless streak.
The Padres will send rookie Odrisamer Despaigne (2-0, 0.92 ERA) to counter baseball’s top arm. Despaigne may not be able to hold a candle to Kershaw, he has been impressive in his first 3 major league starts. He’s allowed just 2 runs and has a 0.97 WHIP. For a rookie that’s nothing to sneeze at even if it has been done against struggling lineups. If he can look even half as good has had in his first 3 starts then we’ll be in for a pretty good game, but it may not be enough to top Kershaw.
A notable omission from the starting lineup is Seth Smith. The newly extended outfielder will not be starting line up for the third time in the past 4 games. I understand a tough lefty is on the mound, but one would think that a player who the organization invested in for multiple years would be the kind of guy who would be front and center when a top pitcher takes the hill. Instead he’s merely a platoon player because that’s what makes the most sense. I’m not upset with the decision to leave on the bench, but I’m upset that the team would spend money over multiple years on a guy who won’t play a decent sized portion of the games.
Tonight could be the night that the mighty Kershaw falls. Maybe this Padre lineup will be his kryptonite . First pitch is at 7:10 PDT.
Keep the Faith.