Padres: The biggest series against the Dodgers has arrived

(Photo by Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/Getty Images)
(Photo by Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/Getty Images) /

The Padres focused on the task at hand on Sunday, sweeping the Giants before hosting the Dodgers starting on Monday. Here’s what to watch for.

The Padres took both games of the twin bill against the Giants on Sunday with strong starting pitching efforts from Mike Clevinger in Game 1 and Garrett Richards in Game 2. The latter was pulled after just 4.1 innings, allowing one run on two hits and only had tossed 65 pitches.

Jayce Tingler has had an interesting strategy with Richards this season, limiting his outings, but then he’ll rip off seven strong innings without batting an eye. Wil Myers stayed red-hot, hitting his 12th long ball of the year in the second inning, tying the game up at one apiece.

And both Jurickson Profar and Manny Machado had RBI singles in the fifth inning, which was all that the Padres needed, as Tim Hill did an excellent job finishing the fifth inning for Richards. And the lethal combination of Drew Pomeranz and Trevor Rosenthal locked it down with the latter collecting his tenth save of the year and third in a Padres uniform.

Now the attention shifts to a monumental series with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The two are separated by just 2.5 games for the NL West lead, so the Padres could conceivably leave this series in first place. Sweeping the Dodgers would have an enormous impact on the baseball world, proving that the Padres are legitimate title contenders.

Here are the expected pitching matchups:

  • TBD vs. Dinelson Lamet (2-1, 2.24 ERA)
  • TBD vs. Zach Davies (7-2, 2.48 ERA)
  • TBD vs. TBD

Well, alrighty then. The Dodgers apparently aren’t going to tip their hand early in this one. However, if we are strictly using every five days as the basis, the big three of Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, and Dustin May would appear to be in line to face the Padres.

The Dodgers had some interesting pitching manipulation this past week, using a bullpen day to avoid having to expend Buehler before this matchup, so you know they have this series marked on their calendar as well.

Tatis Jr. slumping

It doesn’t come at the best time, but the Padres best hitter and the foregone NL MVP has hit just .216 in the month of September. Over the course of a 162-game slate, up and downs happen all the time, but they are magnified in a shortened season, especially when you’re about to play in the most important series of the year thus far.

Tim Hill really good

Hill has been one of the more underrated acquisitions for the Padres bullpen this year. The 30-year-old was acquired before the regular season in a trade for Franchy Cordero, and the lefty is allowing an absurd .111 average to righties.

Mookie Betts

The Dodgers’ big acquisition in the offseason has hit .298 since the calendar flipped to July and boasts a .310 average in September with four home runs and nine RBI in ten games. He along with Corey Seager and the always dangerous Cody Bellinger, are going to be important outs in this series.

Dodgers pitching

Assuming the pitching matchups align the way I think, Clayton Kershaw will face the Padres for the first time this season. The 32-year-old has been downright nasty against the Friars in his career, posting a 1.98 ERA in 39 starts with 127 K’s in 118.1 innings.

And Dustin May has been every bit as good as advertised, with a 3.24 ERA  in six appearances – including four starts – fanning 19 in 25.0 innings. He’s had a couple of dirty strikeouts on Manny Machado in their first couple of meetings.

First pitch is at 6:10 tonight.