The Padres have yet to announce their starter for Game 1 of the NLDS. Meanwhile, the Dodgers have their plan for the first two games.
Both Dinelson Lamet and Mike Clevinger played catch at Globe Life Field on Sunday, the host location for the NLDS. But it remains to be determined whether either of them will be able to pitch for the Padres in the critical series against the rival Dodgers. Per reports, Lamet saw elbow specialist Dr. Keith Meister and was cleared to keep throwing, which is encouraging. However, there’s a major difference between playing catch and throwing the ball 100 times in live-game action.
On the flip side, the Dodgers breezed through their Wild Card Round matchup against the Brewers, and they have their top two pitchers set for the NLDS.
Buehler lasted only 4.0 innings in Game 1, fanning 8 batters while allowing only 3 hits and 2 walks. He did allow two earned runs, but it went unnoticed as the Dodger offense scored 4 runs of their own. And Clayton Kershaw has had a tumultuous relationship with the postseason, often faltering when it matters most. But in Game 2 against the Brewers, he was flat out dominant, striking out 13 batters over 8.0 innings while allowing just 3 hits all night.
The Dodgers have been the Padres’ kryptonite this season, with the Friars losing two of the three series played. The outlier was a four-game series in which the two teams split the games.
As you’d expect, given how good Buehler has been in his young career, most of the Padres roster has had little success against him. Only Fernando Tatis Jr. and Wil Myers have taken him deep, but Tatis also has 3 strikeouts in 7 at-bats. These two were instrumental in helping the Padres stay alive in Game 2 of the Wild Card Round.
Despite how good he’s been in his career, the Padres best chance for a win within the first two games might come off Kershaw, with Eric Hosmer, Manny Machado, and Tatis all having previous success off the Dodgers’ southpaw.
Assuming Lamet and Clevinger are good to go for this series, I would expect a low-scoring series, and every mistake could loom large. This series kicks off Tuesday at 6:38 PST.