The Dodgers look to bounce back after a shocking walk-off loss to San Diego in the series opener which included a rare blown save by closer Kenley Jansen. Saturday night’s game features an Alex Wood vs. Cesar Vargas rematch.
Adrian Gonzalez left Monday’s game in the sixth inning with lower back tightness. Saturday will be his first time back in the lineup since being sidelined for three consecutive games. He entered Friday’s game in a double switch and played two innings.
7:10 p.m. PT
Alex Wood (1-3, 4.17) is coming off a couple of solid starts against the Mets and Cardinals, but he is looking for his first win since April 13. He allowed 2 runs or less and struck out 14 in his last two games and seems more effective after adjusting the positioning of his bottom foot during his delivery.
#HomeWood is much more successful at Dodger Stadium than on the road this year so far. He is 0-3 with a 8.05 ERA in road games and 1-0 with a 1.37 ERA at home with 10 more strikeouts at home than on the road.
The good news is that Wood has pitched well in San Diego. He is 1-0 at Petco Park and has pitched 8 innings of shutout ball in one career start and one relief appearance down south. He is 2-1 with a 2.33 ERA against the Padres in 5 career games (4 starts).
Wood will have to pitch carefully to the right-handed batters in the San Diego lineup including Matt Kemp who is hitting .556/.556/1.000 with 5 hits including a double and a home run in 9 at-bats against him. Kemp was out of the lineup on Friday night but is penciled in on Saturday and hitting third. Melvin Upton Jr., the unlikely slayer of Kenley’s cutter the night prior, is hitting .500 with 3 hits in 7 at-bats vs. Wood.
Wood is also riding a four-game hitting streak of his own going into Saturday’s game.
Alex Wood has a 4-game hitting streak (4-for-7, BB), longest hitting streak by a Dodgers pitcher since Zack Greinke in 2013
— Eric Stephen (@truebluela) May 21, 2016
The Padres send 24-year old right-hander Cesar Vargas (0-2, 3.55) to face the Dodgers for the second time this season. The Yankees originally signed Vargas in 2009 as an amateur free agent out of Mexico. The Padres signed Vargas as a free agent last November. He will be making his sixth career start on Saturday night, still looking for his first MLB victory.
Vargas has pitched well in his first two starts at home, only allowing 2 runs in 11 innings with 6 strikeouts. He has had control issues (hello, seven-walk Scott) and has walked 12 batters in 25 1/3 innings. He has a 90 mph fastball, a slider and a curve.
The Dodgers faced Vargas April 29 at Dodger Stadium and lost 5-1 to the Friars. Vargas pitched 5 1/3 innings of shutout ball and allowed 4 hits while striking out 6 and walking 3 in 5 1/3 innings of work. If you remember, Kemp burned Chris Hatcher by hitting a three-run home run against him, but Wood pitched well.
Dave Roberts said the club was encouraged by Ryu’s Friday night rehab start; next one Wednesday for OKC; on pace for June return.
— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) May 22, 2016
Scott Van Slyke begins his minor league rehab assignment with the Quakes on Sunday.
The Dodgers have lost three straight games and are 3 1/2 games back of the Giants in the NL West.
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