Preview: Clayton Kershaw Returns, Alex Verdugo Makes MLB Debut As Dodgers Begin Series With Padres
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers begin a four-game series with the San Diego Padres mired in a season-worst five-game losing streak, but seen the return of Clayton Kershaw from the disabled list and Alex Verdugo making MLB debut.

Friday’s series opener is Kershaw’s first start in the Majors since he was removed after just two innings on July 23. The three-time Cy Young Award winner was placed on the 10-day disabled list the following afternoon, where he remained for nearly six weeks due to a lower back strain.

Kershaw recorded eight strikeouts and allowed one run on a solo homer to Jorge Soler over innings in a rehab start with Oklahoma City last week. The outing was Kershaw’s first career game pitching at the Triple-A level.

He’s 15-2 with a 2.04 ERA, 2.92 FIP and 0.88 WHIP, with the Dodgers going 19-2 in his starts this season. The left-handed ace is 2-0 with a 1.26 ERA, 0.77 WHIP, and 17 strikeouts in 14.1 innings in two starts against the Padres this year.

Verdugo starts in center field and bats eighth. He joined the Dodgers from Triple-A Oklahoma City, along with O’Koyea Dickson and Rob Segedin. Dickson will also make his MLB debut whenever he appears in a game, which is expected to come Saturday.

Verdugo hit .314/.389/.436 with 27 doubles, four triples, six home runs and 62 RBI in 117 games with Oklahoma City. He did see a drop in production since July 1, however, hitting .252/.337/.387 with 13 doubles and three home runs in 188 plate appearances over 45 games.

The Dodgers look to get back on track against rookie right-hander Dinelson Lamet, who is 7-5 with a 4.60 ERA, 4.19 FIP and 1.19 WHIP. He’s recorded 105 strikeouts against 38 walks over 86 innings pitched.

Lamet has at least five strikeouts in each of his last 10 starts and is 5-3 during that span. He’s 4-2 with a 3.98 ERA in seven home starts.

The Dodgers are 9-3 against the Padres this season and have won four of the five meetings at Petco Park.

Dodgers lineup:

SS: Chris Taylor
LF: Curtis Granderson
3B: Justin Turner
1B: Cody Bellinger
C: Yasmani Grandal
RF: Yasiel Puig
2B: Chase Utley
CF: Alex Verdugo
P: Clayton Kershaw

Padres lineup:

CF: Manuel Margot
2B: Carlos Asuaje
LF: Jose Pirela
1B: Wil Myers
SS: Yangervis Solarte
RF: Jabari Blash
3B: Cory Spangenberg
C: Austin Hedges
P: Dinelson Lamet