There are just nine games left in the 2019 season for the San Diego Padres and three of them come against the playoff-hungry Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Los Angeles Dodgers entered the month of September with a bit of concern. Despite trading for the most sought-after trade deadline target ever (?), the Dodgers found themselves on the outside looking in at the 2018 National League playoff picture. However, things have turned around for the Dodgers since the calendar flipped from August to September and now Eric Lauer will look to cool down the hot-hitting Los Angeles lineup when the San Diego Padres take the field on Friday night.
Lauer launched himself into the hearts of many Padres fans this season when he was quoted as saying “It’s the Dodger’s man. Nobody likes the Dodgers.” He might be a rookie from Ohio, but he gets it. More importantly, he has backed up his swagger with two dominant performances against the Dodgers, both at home within the friendly confines of Petco Park.
On May 6th, Lauer made just the third start of his professional career, logging six shutout innings against the Dodgers, striking out five along the way. This after giving up nine earned runs in eight innings in his first two career starts.
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Nearly two months later, Lauer went to work against Los Angeles again, giving up just one run on four hits in 8.2 innings. He struck out eight and walked two, throwing 115 pitches over the course of his outing. The victory ran his season line to 2-0 with a 0.63 earned run average, one earned run, 11 hits allowed, three walks and 13 strikeouts.
So, what is Eric Lauer walking into? The Dodgers are coming off a sweep of the Colorado Rockies and a series win over the St. Louis Cardinals. True, they did drop a series to both the New York Mets and the Cincinnati Reds this month, however, this lineup has been blazing hot.
Since September 1st, Los Angeles leads the league in home runs (29) and finds themselves near the top of the rankings in nearly every other offensive category including batting average (7th), on-base percentage (4th), slugging and OPS (2nd), and walks (2nd).
How will Lauer fare in his first start at Dodgers Stadium? First pitch is slated for 7:10 pm tonight, with Lauer facing off against Rich Hill. The last time the Padres met Hill he went by the name Dick Mountain.