Dodgers @ Padres April 16, 2018: Ryu ready for a win streak?

The last place Los Angeles Dodgers (5-9) are visiting Petco Park for the first time this year to face the San Diego Padres (7-10). The Padres are 4-7 at home this year, while the Dodgers are 1-4 on the road. The Dodgers were 13-6 against the Padres last year, including a 5-4 record in San Diego. In 19 games last year, the Dodgers outscored the Padres 121 to 55.

Today’s game is the first of another 19 between these two teams this year. Hyun-Jin Ryu (2.79 ERA, 2.85 FIP, 1.24 WHIP) is slated to make his third start of the season, coming off a fantastic outing against the A’s. Ryu went six strong innings, striking out eight and allowing just two baserunners. Ryu has had a walk problem this year with six walks in just under 10 innings. At the same time, he is yet to allow a home run and has only allowed six hits. Luis Perdomo was slated to go against Ryu tonight, but Perdomo decided to throw behind Nolan Arenado. The MLB promptly suspended him five games (one start) for throwing at a future Dodger. Robbie Erlin (2.38 ERA, 2.00 FIP, 0.79 WHIP) will start in his place.

Dodgers
Padres
7:10 PM
San Diego
CF
Taylor
LF
Pirela
SS
Seager
SS
Galvis
2B
Hernandez
1B
Hosmer
1B
Bellinger
RF
Renfroe
LF
Kemp
3B
Villanueva
C
Grandal
CF
Cordero
RF
Puig 2B Asuaje
3B
Farmer
C
Hedges
P
Ryu (R)
P
Erlin (R)

Kyle Farmer gets his fourth start of the year at 3rd with Logan Forsythe on the 10-Day DL. Enrique Hernandez is batting third tonight for the first time this year — likely for his ability to hit left-handed pitching, which he has seriously struggled with so far this year (.495 OPS vs. LHP & .627 vs. RHP). Yasiel Puig is hitting seventh in the order tonight for the first time this year. Granted, batting order doesn’t matter much but I’m glad to see that writing an article about Puig promptly gets him dropped from fifth in the order to seventh within a week.

That’s fun and the odds of this matchup happening again are pretty slim.

Ryu went up against the Padres last year once, where he allowed three runs and seven hits in five innings. He allowed doubles to Pirela and Renfroe, who are both starting, and a home run to Wil Myers, who is sidelined with a nerve issue in his throwing arm.

Erlin has been a long-man for the Padres out of the pen — going more than an inning in four of his five appearances, and over three innings twice. This is his 25th career start, but his first in almost exactly two years — April 17, 2016. He didn’t pitch in 2017 as he recovered from Tommy John surgery, and over 11.1 innings in 2018 has posted a 2.38 ERA and a 2.00 FIP. His 64.5% ground ball rate is sixth of all pitchers with at least 10 IP. The Dodgers are eighth in ground ball rate offensively, so that should bode well for an exciting and definitely not frustrating game. The Padres are coming off a strong series against the Giants in which they took three of four.

The Padres offense is around middle of the pack this year, with a .311 wOBA and 98 wRC+ ranking 17th in both. This would normally be advantage Dodgers, but combine some overall poor hitting with some bad luck by some good hitters and you get a bottom third offense. The Dodgers have posted a .294 wOBA, ranking 22nd, and an 86 wRC+, which ranks 19th — 14% below league average.

The Padres offense is led by 28-year-old outfielder Jose Pirela. He is slashing .324/.351/.473 on the year, and .435/.458/.696 against LHP with a 4.2% strikeout rate — which is only one strikeout. Pirela is leading the league in hits and at-bats, and is tied for the lead in plate appearances, triples, and games played. Also, this is now a Padres blog. They also famously signed Eric Hosmer to an 8-year, $144 million deal this offseason. So far, Hosmer is their fourth-best positional player by fWAR. Hosmer is at 0.3 behind Freddy Galvis, Pirela, and Christian Villanueva. Combined, those three make just under eight million dollars with nearly seven million of that salary belonging to Galvis. I’m not saying anything about contracts, just stating facts.

The Padres bullpen has been worth 1.4 fWAR this year, the most of any team. That can be attributed to a 1.84 ERA (2nd), 2.63 FIP (1st), 1.00 WHIP (2nd), a .182 BA allowed (1st), and a 28.7% strikeout rate (5th).

For fun, let’s compare the Dodgers pen to the Padres. The Dodgers bullpen ranks 23rd in fWAR at 0.0, with a 4.47 ERA (22nd), 4.07 FIP (21st), 1.32 WHIP (19th), a .270 BA allowed (28th), and a 23.7% strikeout rate (18th). That was fun. Some of that may be attributable to bad performances by Scott Alexander and Wilmer Font, but based on recent performance the Padres definitely do have the superior pen.

——

In other news:

Dennis Santana is good, and at one point today he had eight consecutive strikeouts. Dustin recently ranked him as the ninth-best prospect in the system. He’s off to a strong start.

——

If the Dodgers can muster a win today, they will be 6-9. This is clearly a monumental game.

First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM PST, and the game will be shown on SNLA and MLB Network.

About Allan Yamashige

Allan Yamashige
Just a guy living in Thousand Oaks, CA who happens to love the Dodgers and statistics. I'm currently studying at Moorpark Community College and plan on transferring into UC Santa Cruz's Business/Economics/Computer Science program. Hated baseball practice as a kid, but writing about adults doing baseball is alright.