The Dodgers look to avoid a sweep in San Diego following two straight walk off losses.
There’s really no reason for the Dodgers to not be looking to sweep the Padres right now, which makes it all the more infuriating that they need a win in the finale to avoid getting swept. Game one was promising as the offense broke out and saved Scott Kazmir, only to have Kenley Jansen give up the first walk off home run of his career. Yesterday, Alex Wood was phenomenal on the road and Trayce Thompson continued his mission to relegate Carl Crawford to a bench role, but Chin-hui Tsao was called on in the 11th and after a leadoff single and two outs, Tsao walked the next three batters to put the Dodgers on the wrong side of shrimp.
Last night should be the end to the “Dave Roberts is a puppet for the FO and analytics” BS narrative. Roberts went to Tsao in an inning that began with Wil Myers and Matt Kemp, two of the Padres’ best offensive threats. Analytics say to throw Kenley Jansen in that situation, because saves are a stupid stat and having your best reliever throw against the heart of the opposing teams’ order is more important than saving him for a save. It would have been a moot point if the offense could have done more than Thompson’s two-run homer, but Roberts really bungled the end of the game there. He’s made some very questionable managerial decisions, and that’s to be expected out of a first-year manager, but it’s pretty clear that Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi aren’t making his moves.
/rant. Kenta Maeda gets the ball today, and after a stellar first four starts, he’s been having issues lately. He allowed one earned run in his first four starts, and has allowed 14 in his last four. Hitters seem to be adjusting to Maeda, and today will be the first time he faces a team for the second time. His first start of his major league career came at Petco Park, and not only did he toss six shutout innings, but he hit a homer. So just do that again.
Colin Rea goes for the Padres today and is appearing in his 10th game this season, nine of which have been starts. Rea owns a 4.37 ERA/4.63 FIP and has had real issues with his command, walking 10 percent of batters he’s faced (20 of 201 plus three intentionally). His relief appearance came against the Dodgers on their 15-run opening day outburst (how long ago does that seem?), but he also started at Dodger Stadium on April 30th and held the Dodgers to two runs in six innings, both of which came on a Chase Utley home run.
Justin Turner gets the day off as Howie Kendrick gets the start at third. Turner hit a clutch homer in Friday night’s game and got marine layer’d out of one in last night’s game, so it seems that hit bat is beginning to come around. However, he’s still not going to start every game, and Kendrick has improved greatly in May.
Trayce Thompson consecutive start watch is now at seven, as he’s started every game this week. He still hasn’t officially been confirmed as the everyday starter, but consecutive starts against a righty seem to indicate it’s his job to lose. He’s been good offensively and worse-than-expected defensively, so hopefully he gets comfortable out there.
Yasmani Grandal may have gotten the night off anyways with a day game after a night game, but he left yesterday’s contest after fouling a pitch off his ankle. He reportedly had x-rays on his ankle after calling it a contusion last night, but they came back negative (which is a good thing, that’s always slightly confused me). He hasn’t looked right lately, as he’s seemingly double-clutched more throws than usual and has had some mixups with his pitchers, not to mention his bat is MIA. The Dodgers are a rare team that can afford a catcher injury, as A.J. Ellis gets the job done and Austin Barnes is a promising prospect that would be on any other major league squad, but when Grandal is right he’s an elite pitch framer and a dangerous bat.
First pitch is scheduled for 1:40 PST and will be shown on Sportsnet LA.