While the postseason is well out of reach for the San Diego Padres in 2014, it doesn’t mean they can’t do their part to help play spoiler for their rivals up the freeway. After suffering a 6-game losing streak, Andrew Cashner, Jedd Gyorko and Cory Spangenberg helped lead the Friars past the Boys in Blue last night, and snapping their losing streak in the process. With the loss, the Dodgers’ lead over the San Francisco Giants was trimmed to just 2 1/2 games with less than 20 games on the schedule. The Dodgers head to the Bay Area this weekend, and the division lead could conceivably exchange hands by the end of the series.
The Padres will send Ian Kennedy, their hard luck loser all season to the mound in the series finale, as he tries to inch closer to a .500 record for the season. He has a very respectable ERA of 3.75, and was the subject and target of many trade rumors as the non-waiver trading deadline came and went. The Padres chose to hold on to the native Californian since he is under team control next season as well. Kennedy has struggled with the Dodgers throughout his career, posting a record of 4-5, with an ERA of 4.05, with 84 Ks. Dodgers’ outfielders Carl Crawford and Andrew Ethier have hit Kennedy well, so keep an eye on that tonight.
The Dodgers counter with Kennedy’s former rotation mate in Arizona with the Diamondbacks, Dan Haren. Signed to be a solid back of the rotation starter, Haren has not disappointed in his debut season with the Dodgers. Haren has posted five quality starts in his last six outings. Over his last three starts, Haren is 2-0, with an ERA of 0.95 with 15 Ks in 19 innings pitched. Padres outfielder Seth Smith has seen Haren the most, logging 21 career ABs, and is hitting .258, with a home run and seven driven in.
For the Friars, it’s just another opportunity to keep giving youngsters like Cory Spangenberg, who is hitting .358 since his call-up at the start of September, and Rymer Liriano, hitting only .201, an extended look against pennant-race caliber pitching and bullpens. This month gives A.J. Preller and Bud Black a chance to start laying the blueprints for both the off-season and for next spring. For the Dodgers, manager Don Mattingly is trying to not only win his second division title as skipper, but is also trying to secure home field advantage throughout the National League playoffs, by keeping the chasing Washington Nationals at bay. The best way to do that, is to win the games against the teams you are supposed to (like the Padres), while keep the team sharp and rested heading into the final 2 1/2 weeks of the season. First pitch is at 7:10 p.m. PDT.
Keep the Faith.