Dodgers Vs. Padres Game Preview: Seeking Series Win With Shohei Ohtani Out Of Lineup

The Los Angeles Dodgers enter Sunday afternoon with a chance to earn their sixth consecutive series win.

After dropping the series opener to the San Diego Padres, L.A. cruised to a victory on Saturday and can avoid losing their first series since April 19-21 with a win on Sunday. But they’ll have to do so without Shohei Ohtani in the lineup.

Ohtani felt his back tighten up on Saturday night and was removed from the game, getting pinch hit for in the ninth inning. Manager Dave Roberts said that he does not believe the injury is any cause for concern, but felt that giving him the day off on Sunday was the smart thing to do.

With Ohtani out, the Dodgers had to rework the top of their lineup, disrupting the usual big three of Mookie Betts, Ohtani and Freddie Freeman in that order. Will Smith and Freeman were both moved up in the order, with Teoscar Hernández in the cleanup spot.

This is only the second game this season that Ohtani has missed — the first being a scheduled day off — and he is the only one of Betts, Freeman and himself to miss any time thus far.

The only other game that Ohtani has missed was on May 1, when the Dodgers defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 8-0. This should give the Dodgers confidence in their chances to keep the series win streak alive.

Sunday’s afternoon bout with the Padres has a marquee matchup on the mound as well. Walker Buehler gets the start for the Dodgers in his second appearance since returning from Tommy John surgery last week. L.A. ensured that expectations for Buehler were tempered in his return, and the starter admitted that he may have some nerves associated with his first 2-3 starts.

Buehler is hoping to hone in on the velocity that he found in his first start, and ensure that it wasn’t just the adrenaline of making a return.

Yu Darvish is on the bump for the Padres in the series finale.

Darvish, 37, has been excellent at the start of his 12th Major League season and fourth with the Padres. He has pitched 33.2 innings over seven starts and holds a 2.94 ERA — with a 3.22 fielding-independent pitching (FIP) — a 1.099 WHIP and 30 strikeouts compared to 11 walks.

It’s been a vast improvement from a difficult 2023 campaign, and the Padres are thankful for it, going 5-2 thus far when he starts.

Dodgers Lineup

SS: Mookie Betts
1B: Freddie Freeman
DH: Will Smith
RF: Teoscar Hernández
3B: Max Muncy
CF: Andy Pages
LF: Kiké Hernández
2B: Miguel Rojas
C: Austin Barnes

Padres Lineup

DH: Luis Arraez
RF: Fernando Tatis Jr.
1B: Jake Cronenworth
3B: Manny Machado
LF: Jurickson Profar
2B: Xander Bogaerts
CF: Jackson Merrill
C: Luis Campusano
SS: Ha-Seong Kim

Make sure to follow Dodger Blue on Instagram! It’s the best way to see exclusive coverage from games and events, get your questions answered, and more!