Dodgers @ Padres September 14, 2020: Kershaw starts a series everyone will be completely rational about

Logically speaking, this upcoming series doesn’t mean all that much. The Dodgers have seen their lead in the NL West cut in half since this time last week, and now face off with the hottest team in baseball. The Padres survived a false-positive covid scare on Friday and swept the Giants in a doubleheader on Sunday, which has them within striking distance of the NL West lead (and the best record in baseball). The worst-case scenario (in the standings) for the Dodgers is leaving San Diego on Wednesday down .5 games in the standings with 10 games remaining. Best case, a 5.5 game lead with 10 remaining. That surely sounds better to me, but postseason standings don’t really mean much this season. Both the Dodgers and Padres are basically guaranteed to make the playoffs this season, and lord knows what will happen with an additional best-of-three round of the already-random postseason. That doesn’t mean this series won’t have a playoff feel to it. Dustin wrote more about that this morning.

6:10 p.m. San Diego
RF Betts SS Tatis Jr.
DH Seager (L) 3B Machado
LF Pederson (L) C Nola
1B Muncy (L) RF Myers
SS Taylor 1B Cronenworth (L)
CF Bellinger (L) LF Profar (S)
3B Rios (L) DH Oña
2B Lux (L) 2B Mateo
C Barnes CF Grisham (L)
P Kershaw (L) P Lamet (R)

Clayton Kershaw gets the start for the Dodgers today. It’ll be Kershaw’s eighth start of the season and he’s coming off only the second start in which he’s allowed more than one run. Kershaw struggled a bit in Arizona, allowing four runs (three earned) in five innings. The Dodgers also managed to play arguably their worst defense of the season in that game, so they should try the “not committing three errors” strategy today IMO. Kershaw’s three strikeouts were the fewest he’s had in a start this season, and he matched a season high with two walks. It wasn’t a disastrous start and the Dodgers still won the game, but it probably put an end to most of the Cy Young discussion around Kershaw. This will be Kershaw’s first start against the Padres in 2020.

The Padres send their ace to the mound today in Dinelson Lamet. Lamet allowed exactly one earned run in each of his first five starts this season, including a 5 2/3 inning outing against the Dodgers on August 4. He fell back to earth a bit for three starts, allowing eight runs in 16 1/3 innings against three AL West teams. He bounced back with arguably his best start of the season last time out, shutting out the Rockies over a season-high 7 2/3 innings with 11 strikeouts and no walks.

Baseball Savant has Lamet only using three pitches so far this season. He’s thrown a slider more than half the time and opponents are hitting only .099 against it (with a .108 xBA, which is wild). He’s thrown a four-seamer 36 percent of the time and that’s gotten hit around a bit more (.292 BA against, .306 xBA), but his sinker also has a sub-.200 batting average against.

Edwin Rios gets the start at third today and Austin Barnes catches Kershaw.

——

Justin Turner update.

Turner might make his return from the IL tomorrow. He hasn’t played since August 28 with a hamstring injury, but might DH tomorrow.

——

Another injury update, this time in the rotation.

Dustin May apparently looked healthy enough and is expected to start the finale in San Diego on Wednesday. Tony Gonsolin will match up tomorrow against Zach Davies.

——

https://twitter.com/StacieMWheeler/status/1305647282365161472

Lets.. hope the air looks a bit better in San Diego.

First pitch is scheduled for 6:10 PDT and will be shown on Sportsnet LA.

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.