Having won both series on their road trip thus far, the Los Angeles Dodgers look to keep their momentum trending in the positive direction as they face the San Diego Padres in the opener of three games at Petco Park.
The series was shaping to be a marquee matchup with significant National League West implications but lost some steam as San Diego dropped consecutive games to the Colorado Rockies, who are atop the division at 6-2.
However, both the Dodgers and Padres have a talented, young right-hander on the mound in Walker Buehler and Chris Paddack, respectively.
The start is Buehler’s second of the season, and he’ll look to build on going just 3.2 innings his last time out. Buehler’s buildup during Summer Camp lagged behind that of other members in the starting rotation.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said five innings and 75 pitches “would be ideal” for Buehler. He’s tasked with slowing a Padres lineup that is scoring an MLB-best 5.9 runs per game this season.
San Diego additionally leads all team with 57 RBI and 14 stolen bases. Their .765 on-base plus slugging percentage is ninth-best, and trails the Dodgers, who sixth with a .787 OPS. The Dodgers have the best run differential (+30) and are first in team ERA (1.84).
Paddack is 1-0 with a 1.64 ERA after his first two starts this season. He went 0-1 with a 5.65 ERA in three starts against L.A. last season.
The Dodgers welcome back Corey Seager after he missed a game due to a left quad issue. However, as Roberts had suggested would be the case, Seager is the club’s designated hitter to further protect against aggravating his injury while playing the field.
Meanwhile, Mookie Betts continues to deal with “substantial swelling” in the middle finger on his left hand. It caused Betts to be removed from Sunday’s game and he remains day-to-day.
The domino effect with respect to Betts and Seager has Joc Pederson leading off, Max Muncy playing second base and Matt Beaty starting at first. Beaty is 2-for-3 with two doubles, one RBI and one walk against Paddack.
RF: Joc Pederson
2B: Max Muncy
3B: Justin Turner
CF: Cody Bellinger
LF: AJ Pollock
DH: Corey Seager
SS: Chris Taylor
1B: Matt Beaty
C: Will Smith
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