Without sugar coating anything, San Diego Padres rookie starter Eric Lauer took it to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night at Petco Park, resulting in a 4-1 loss for Los Angeles.
Lauer had never gone more than six innings in his Major League career, but on Tuesday he came within one out of a complete game shutout.
Dodgers infielder Max Muncy ruined both of those things with a solo home run with two outs in the ninth, so Lauer had to settle for 8.2 innings of one-run ball, allowing just four hits and two walks while striking out a career-high eight hitters.
Lauer’s best two Major League starts have come against the Dodgers as he tossed six shutout innings against them on May 6. When asked why that is, Lauer made a very bold statement, via Katie Woo of MLB.com:
In his two games vs. Dodgers this year, Lauer has yielded just one run. When asked why he said, "It's the Dodgers. Nobody likes the Dodgers." #Padres
— Katie Woo (@katiejwoo) July 11, 2018
Perhaps the reason that Lauer feels that was is because the Dodgers have dominated the National League West in recent years, winning the division the last five years. During that span, they have fared particularly well against the Padres, going 68-38, which is their best record among all their division opponents.
With the Padres likely headed for another last-place finish and the Dodgers competing for another division title, it is understandable that beating the Dodgers meant a little extra to a young pitcher like Lauer.
Dodgers hitters Matt Kemp and Cody Bellinger were both complimentary of his performance, although they recognize that there is still more baseball to be played in the series.
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