Dodgers @ Padres September 24, 2019: Dick Mountain returns in San Diego

After the final off day of the regular season, the Dodgers open up their last week of play with three games in San Diego beginning tonight. At 100-56, the Dodgers can clinch the best record in the National League and home field advantage until the World Series with a win in the next seven games or a Braves loss in the next seven games. The Dodgers have won 10 of 16 games against the Padres this season with a 78-58 run differential, and they’ve won four of the six contests in San Diego so far.

The Padres began the season as a popular dark horse, but haven’t been .500 or higher since July 1. At 70-86, they’re currently in fourth place in the West, three games ahead of the Rockies. This will also be the Dodgers’ first look at manager Rod Barajas, who took over as the interim manager after the Padres fired Andy Green on Saturday.

Dodgers
Padres
7:10 p.m.
San Diego
RF
Pederson
CF
Margot
1B
Muncy
LF
Martini
3B
Turner
3B
Machado
CF
Bellinger
1B
Hosmer
SS
Seager
RF
Renfroe
LF
Pollock
SS
Mejias-Brean
2B
Lux
C
Torrens
C
Smith 2B Urias
P
Hill (L)
P
Bolaños (R)

Rich Hill makes his return after his return start in Baltimore was cut short after 2/3rds of an inning. Hill had been sidelined since June 19 with a forearm strain, but returned in Baltimore and was knocked out of that game with a sprained MCL. After playing catch and throwing a bullpen, Hill is back with the possibility of appearing twice to audition for a spot on the October roster. When he’s been healthy, Hill has been great this season. He obviously hasn’t been healthy very often, but in 53 2/3 innings, Hill owns a 2.68 ERA. His 4.30 FIP points to some luck there, but Hill pitched six or more innings in six of his nine not-injury-shortened starts and has yet to allow more than three earned runs in a game.

Hill’s worst start of the season came against the Padres. He lasted only four innings and allowed three runs and seven hits while striking out only three batters. He allowed two homers in that game, both to Manny Machado.

Ronald Bolanos starts for the Padres tonight. The 23-year-old righty debuted on September 3 and has appeared in three games, starting twice. He took a tough loss in his debut, as he allowed only two runs in six innings against the Diamondbacks. He followed that up with a rough outing against the Cubs, who scored five runs in five innings off him. However, the Padres got him off the hook with nine runs and he took the no-decision. He pitched three innings of relief last time out and allowed two runs in Milwaukee.

Bolanos began the season at High-A Lake Elsinore and was pretty dominant, posting a 2.85 ERA in 53 2/3 innings. He was promoted to Double-A Amarillo and had a tougher time, with a 4.23 ERA in 76 2/3 innings. The Padres still decided to call up their 15th-ranked prospect on MLB Pipeline, and he gets his first look at a tough Dodger team today.

According to Pipeline, Bolanos features a fastball that sits at 93 and can touch 97. So far in the Majors, Bolanos has thrown that fastball 60.1 percent of the time and it’s averaged 94.3 MPH. He’s thrown a curveball 22.7 percent of the time and it’s had a 54.2 percent whiff rate so far. He’s also flashed a slider and changeup, and has apparently thrown two eephus pitches so far.

Max Muncy returns to the Dodger lineup, and other than Hill this may be a lineup you see in October. The Padres are infinitely less fun to watch with Fernando Tatis Jr. being shelved for the rest of the season, but they still have some threats in Machado and Hunter Renfroe.

——

Joe Kelly will not appear in either of the next two games.

Kelly has an unspecified injury, but should be available to pitch at some point this season. It would be a huge blow if he were unable to pitch in October, so hopefully it’s not as bad as it seems right now.

——

Ross Stripling is expected to pitch tomorrow, either in a start or as the bulk pitcher of a bullpen game. With that, the rotation is set for the final series of the season in San Francisco.

Clayton Kershaw will start the finale, which would give him six days rest before Game 1 of the NLDS. As it is not, Walker Buehler and Hyun-Jin Ryu figure to start the next two games, but there’s no announcement yet on a postseason rotation.

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About Alex Campos

Alex Campos
I've been writing about the Dodgers since I graduated from Long Beach State, where I covered the Dirtbags in my senior year. I'm either very good or very bad at puns.