Dodgers @ Padres September 1, 2017: Happy #KershDay, plus call-ups

(Via)

The Dodgers (91-41) have lost five straight games. It’s a not-so-fun feeling, one that Dodger fans have not had to endure much at all this season. The pessimism is palpable (at least from some online), but there’s really no reason to panic. There’s still 30 games of Dodger baseball left to be played in the regular season, and a certain formidable ace is returning to the mound on Friday night in the series opener of a four-game set against the Padres (59-74). If anyone can right the ship, it’s Clayton Kershaw.

Dodgers
Padres
7:10 PM PT
San Diego
SS
Taylor
CF
Margot
LF
Granderson
2B
Asuaje
3B
Turner
LF
Pirela
1B
Bellinger
1B
Myers
C
Grandal
SS
Solarte
RF
Puig
RF
Blash
2B
Utley 3B Spangenberg
CF
Verdugo
C
Hedges
P
Kershaw (L)
P
Lamet (R)

Kershaw (15-2, 2.04 ERA, 2.92 FIP) hasn’t pitched for the Dodgers since July 23 when he left the game after two innings with a lower-back strain. It was a very disconcerting moment, but worries were alleviated a bit when tests determined the injury was not as significant as last season’s disc injury. The Dodgers wisely had Kershaw take his time rehabbing, but now Kersh should start to hone in on the postseason by getting back into a groove in this final month of the regular season.

Even though Kershaw missed a significant chunk of time and didn’t pitch at all in the entire month of August, he still remains in the top spot among qualifying pitchers in the MLB with a 2.04 ERA, 205 ERA+ and 7.00 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Mike (who?) wrote about Kershaw’s chance to win his fourth Cy Young Award despite missing a month of action.

He’ll pitch about five innings on Friday.

Kersh has already defeated the Padres twice this year, including the 14-3 Opening Day walloping at Dodger Stadium. He’s allowed two earned runs on seven hits with 17 strikeouts and four walks against San Diego in 14 1/3 innings (two starts). Overall, the supreme lefty is 16-6 with a 2.00 ERA in 31 career starts against the Friars, and he’s 6-2 with a 1.85 ERA in 12 starts at Petco Park.

Andy Green sends rookie right-hander Dinelson Lamet (7-5, 4.60 ERA, 4.19 FIP) to the mound to face the Dodgers for the first time in his young career. He’s held right-hand hitters to a .141 batting average and has only allowed 10 extra-base hits (four doubles and six home runs) in 163 at-bats against right-handers. He’s struggled with his command at times, walking four batters per nine innings. Looking past his high ERA and walk rate, Lamet has some good peripherals and has struck out 11 batters per nine innings (105 strikeouts in 86 innings).

The Padres, eliminated from postseason contention and last place in the majors with a .233 team batting average, fired their hitting coach Alan Zinter on Friday.

Call-ups!

It’s everyone’s favorite (insert sarcasm) time of the year. September is here, and that means roster expansion time. The Dodgers are calling up a mix of veterans and prospects to join the team down the stretch. The most exciting callup is Alex Verdugo, who starts in center field and bats eighth in his MLB debut with the Dodgers Friday. The Dodgers’ No. 2 prospect and left-handed hitting outfielder will certainly get some at-bats this month. Dustin wrote about what to expect from Verdugo’s first taste of the majors.

There was a flurry of roster moves.

O’Koyea Dickson got a well-deserved call-up. The 27-year old hit .279/.349/.491/.840 with 117 home runs in 736 minor-league games.

Andre Ethier, reinstated from the disabled list, will be given some playing time in the outfield. The veteran has missed five months with a herniated disc in his back and is currently dealing with a “neck thing”. It’s unlikely that Dre will reclaim his Captain Clutch moniker this year or make the postseason roster, but the long-tenured Dodger deserves an opportunity to at least contribute in September and have the opportunity to earn a spot.

Wilmer Font, Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Year, will also be recalled from Triple-A OKC. Font appeared in five games with the Texas Rangers in 2013 and 2014.

Brock Stewart returns as well, and he’ll make the start in the early game of the doubleheader on Saturday in San Diego.

Finally, some news on Corey Seager‘s elbow.

Maybe don’t lose six in a row, guys. Oh, and don’t die in the heat.

About Stacie Wheeler

Stacie Wheeler

Stacie Wheeler, born and raised in So Cal, has been writing about the Dodgers since 2010. She wrote daily as the Co-Editor of Lasorda’s Lair for five long years, and she has also written for Dodgers Nation and Dodger Blue 1958. She currently contributes to The Hardball Times. Stacie graduated from the University Of Southern California with a bachelor’s degree in Cinema-Television. You can also watch her videos on her YouTube channel, DishingUpTheDodgers.