Padres Vs. Dodgers Game Preview: Potential NL Wild Card Matchup; Gavin Lux Starting In Left Field
Gavin Lux
Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports

After splitting a four-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals, the Los Angeles Dodgers begin a weekend series with the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium.

At 88-53, the Dodgers are 2.5 games behind the National League West-leading San Francisco Giants. However, with the second-best record in the NL, they have a 13-game lead for the top Wild Card spot.

The Padres, at 74-65, hold the second Wild Card spot with a one-game lead over the Cincinnati Reds, with three other teams still within five games, so they have a lot on the line this series.

At present time this series could be a preview for the one-game Wild Card in October, or if the Dodgers win the NL West, a potential Division Series matchup.

The Dodgers open the series by sending MLB’s win leader Julio Urias to the mound.

This season, Urias has become one of the Dodgers’ four aces, posting a 3.11 ERA and 3.31 FIP across 156.1 innings while striking out almost 27% of hitters he faces and walking just slightly more than 5%.

Urias has faced the Padres twice so far this season and has mixed results. On June 21, he went four innings and allowed six runs, however, he rebounded in his most recent start against San Diego and threw five innings while allowing no runs.

San Diego has struggled against lefties this year, posting a .239/.325/.377 line and 93 wRC+ and overall since Aug. 1, their offense has struggled against everyone as they have hit .231/.313/.374 with an 88 wRC+.

The Padres hand the ball to Joe Musgrove, who has become the ace for their staff due to injuries and struggles from their big offseason acquisitions Yu Darvish and Blake Snell.

In 153.2 innings, the right-hander has posted a 2.87 ERA and 3.43 FIP while striking out 27.6% of hitters and walking 6.4%.

He has faced the Dodgers twice this season and he has had mostly positive results. His last start against L.A. came on June 23 where he went six innings and allowed two runs. In his other start against the Dodgers, Musgrove only went three innings on 77 pitches but held L.A. to two runs with one of them unearned.

The Dodgers have been strong this year against righties, posting a .244/.335/.417 line with a 107 wRC+, but their offense has been inconsistent with a lot more bad than good over the last month.

One thing to keep an eye on this series is that it will feature multiple MVP candidates — Fernando Tatis Jr., Max Muncy and Trea Turner — looking to pull ahead in the race, while Walker Buehler and Max Scherzer looking to strengthen their resumes for the Cy Young Award race.

The Dodgers recalled Gavin Lux prior to the game, and he’s starting in left field for the first time in his Major League career.

Also before the game, the Dodgers recalled Matt Beaty and placed Billy McKinney on the injured list due to a left hip impingement.

Dodgers lineup

RF: Mookie Betts
1B: Max Muncy
2B: Trea Turner
SS: Corey Seager
3B: Justin Turner
C: Will Smith
LF: Gavin Lux
CF: Chris Taylor
P: Julio Urias

Padres lineup

CF: Trent Grisham
3B: Manny Machado
SS: Jake Cronenworth
RF: Fernando Tatis Jr.
LF: Wil Myers
1B: Jurickson Profar
C: Austin Nola
2B: Adam Frazier
P: Joe Musgrove

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