The Los Angeles Dodgers returned to action on Tuesday and didn’t miss a beat, defeating the rival San Diego Padres, 6-0, in the opener of a two-game series at Dodger Stadium.
L.A. improved to 7-3 over their last 10 games and created more distance between themselves and the second-place Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League West. The Dodgers were tasked with slowing down Padres budding ace Chris Paddack, who suffered his worst start as a Major Leaguer.
In just 4.2 innings of work, he allowed five hits — two of them for home runs — and six runs (three earned) with three strikeouts against one walk.
Joc Pederson accounted for one of those home runs and overall went 1-for-4 in the contest with two RBI. It was the 100th homer of his career and the third in his last four contests after failing to hit one over the span of 12 games from April 23-May 9.
After the win, Pederson offered high praise for Paddack and despite the right-hander being on a role, looked forward the matchup given his platoon status, via Michael Duarte of NBC Los Angeles:
“Absolutely. They have four lefties, so I’ll take whoever. No, but, he’s been pitching really well. Yeah, it was good to face him.”
Getting to face one of the NL’s best pitchers in Paddack was beneficial in itself for experience purposes, but Pederson clearly was relieved to simply not see a southpaw on the mound.
As the 27-year-old noted, the Padres’ starting rotation is left-handed heavy, which means he likely would have been relegated to the bench had Paddack not been scheduled to pitch.
Prior to Tuesday’s outing, the right-hander had boasted a 3-1 record on the year with a superb 1.55 ERA, 2.30 FIP and MLB-leading 0.69 WHIP in 40.2 innings of work. He had additionally allowed just 18 hits on the year.
After his start against the Dodgers, Paddack saw his ERA, FIP and WHIP rise to 1.99, 2.95 and 0.75, respectively, while he continues to lead the Majors with a minuscule 4.6 hits per nine innings ratio.
As for Pederson, he has been swinging the bat better over the past four contests. Over that span, he is 3-for-his-last-14 with three home runs, four RBI and one walk. But with San Diego turning to Matt Strahm on Wednesday, Pederson is back on the bench.
He started in just one of the three games at Petco Park earlier this month.