The Los Angeles Dodgers have the look of one of the best teams in the major leagues, and they are preparing for a series against one of the worst. Even though they are going on the road, the Dodgers should be favored to win the series over the San Diego Padres.
Los Angeles is atop the ultra-competitive National League West and must keep winning even though 1t 52-28 it has the second-best record in the majors. The Dodgers are getting pushed by the Diamondbacks and Rockies in the division.
The Padres are in rebuilding mode and would like to play spoiler but they could be outclassed in this matchup.
This series will be contested from Friday, June 29 through Thursday, July 2, 2017 at Petco Park in San Diego, California. Friday’s matchup will be broadcast on MLB Network.
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The Dodgers will begin the series by sending Alex Wood to the mound. He is 8-0 with a sparkling 1.86 ERA. Wood has a fantastic strikeout rate and is only allowing a batting average against of .184. Wood has been dominant and could make quick work of the Padres. San Diego hopes to get a good outing from Clayton Richard, who is 5-7 with a 4.42 ERA on the season.
In the second game of the series, Los Angeles is scheduled to start Rich Hill, who is 4-4 with a 4.60 ERA. He is injury-prone but is generally effective when on the mound. The Padres have yet to announce a starter for this matchup.
In the series finale, the Dodgers are scheduled to start Kenta Maeda. He is 6-3 on the year with a 4.15 ERA. Maeda threw seven shutout innings last time out and has been great in each of his past four outings. The Padres will start Jhoulys Chacin, who is 6-7 with a 4.76 ERA. Chacin has dropped his ERA by a full run over the past month and hopes to keep rolling.
Player to Watch
Cody Bellinger -- The Dodgers outfielder is the frontrunner for Rookie of the Year right now and has proven himself a key piece in the team’s offense already. He is hitting .268 with an on-base percentage of .341, but it’s his power that is the most impressive.
Bellinger is tied for second in the majors right now in home runs with 24, three behind fellow rookie Aaron Judge of the Yankees. It’s more impressive because Bellinger began the season in the minors before getting called up in late April. He also leads the team in RBIs with 56.
The 21-year-old had three home runs in a two-game series against the Padres back in May and will be looking to duplicate that performance with his return to Petco Park this weekend. The Dodgers offense dominated in that first series, sweeping San Diego and outscoring the Padres 18-4.
114. That’s the Padres’ negative run-differential on the season, which is the worst mark in the major leagues. San Diego is the only team in the league which has been outscored by triple digits this season, so even though its 32-46 record isn’t horrendous, there won’t be any turnaround on the horizon.
Both facets have been an issue, as the San Diego offense has been poor and the pitching hasn’t been able to pick it up even though the team plays in a pitching-friendly stadium. Wil Myers is the team’s best hitter and he hopes to be the centerpiece of a rebuild.
San Diego has some promising prospects in the minor leagues and the future should be better, but for now this team may be the worst in the majors. The Dodgers need to take advantage as they look to hold on to the lead in the N.L. West.
The Padres get a break in that they won’t see Clayton Kershaw, but the Dodgers will still have the starting pitching advantage.
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