Dodgers @ Padres April 22, 2022: Urías starts first series against San Diego

After taking two of three from the Atlanta Braves (6-8), the Dodgers come to San Diego with a 9-3 record, the best in baseball. The Padres (9-5) have had a solid start to their season, and the first of nineteen games between these two teams begins tonight. Julio Urias is on the mound for the Dodgers, up against the right-handed Nick Martinez.

After losing a handful of games to the Padres early in the season last year, the team ended the year with a nine-game winning streak against San Diego. Overall, the Dodgers won the season series last year 12-7, outscoring the Padres by a total of twenty runs. As most know, San Diego is without their superstar Fernando Tatis Jr., as he recovers from surgery on a broken wrist he sustained in the offseason. The Padres will look to keep pace with the Dodgers and the Giants (8-5), as they wait for Blake Snell, Mike Clevinger, and Tatis to return.

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6:40 PM San Diego
RF Betts C Nola
1B Freeman (L) 3B Machado
SS T. Turner 2B Cronenworth (L)
3B Muncy (L) DH Voit
DH J. Turner LF Profar (S)
C Smith 1B Hosmer (L)
CF Bellinger (L) RF Myers
LF Taylor SS Kim
2B Lux (L) CF Grisham (L)

When looking at these two offenses, the Dodgers have been a top tier offense while the Padres have been just above average. San Diego has the 12th ranked wRC+ at 108, and the 13th ranked OPS at .699, while the Dodgers have the sixth highest wRC+ at 119, and the seventh highest OPS at .743.

Offensively, the Padres have been led by Manny Machado (204 wRC+, 1.056 OPS), Jurickson Profar (185 wRC+, 1.003 OPS), and Eric Hosmer (162 wRC+, .893 OPS). However, outside of those three, the rest of the lineup has had their struggles, as Jake Cronenworth, Trent Grisham, Will Myers, and Luke Voit are all hitting below .200.

Gavin Lux is back in the starting lineup after back stiffness limited his playing time in the previous series against Atlanta. His 157 wRC+ trails just Freddie Freeman (167 wRC+), and his .888 OPS trails just Freeman (.921), and Cody Bellinger (.889). All starters besides Mookie Betts (61 wRC+), Justin Turner (76 wRC+), and Max Muncy (80 wRC+), have a 114 wRC+ or higher. Max Muncy has the fifth lowest BABIP in the league at just .129, but has nine walks to just seven strikeouts, allowing him to still maintain an OBP of .306. Lux has the third highest Expected Weighted On-base Average (xwOBA) in baseball at .488, ahead of names such as Mike Trout (.460), Matt Olson (.457), and Jose Ramirez (.456). He’s underperforming his expected results based on quality of contact, most likely due to losing at least two home runs due to a ball that seems to be increasingly dead.

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Last time out, Urías was much better than his first start of the season. He allowed just one hit and one walk with five strikeouts in five scoreless innings. He faced the minimum through four innings and was pulled after just 65 pitches. The 25 year-old lefty is coming off a career high 200.2 innings last season including the playoffs, by far the biggest workload in his career. In his first start, Urias displayed decreased velocity and failed to record a strikeout, but he said after that game that he felt fine physically. After averaging just 91.4 MPH on his fastball in his first start, he was up to 92.3 in his last outing after averaging 94.1 in 2021. Urías had a 3.38 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP against the Padres last year over three starts and 16 innings, although he had his worst start of the season against them as well, allowing six earned runs in four innings.

This offseason the Padres signed the 31 year-old right hander Martinez to a four year deal worth up to 25 million with incentives and options. He hasn’t had a big-league appearance since 2017, as he’s spent the past four seasons playing in Japan. Over his time in the NPB split between the Nippon-Ham Fighters and the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, Martínez had just a 3.02 ERA. Most notably, last season with the Hawks, he had a 1.62 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP in 149.2 innings. He previously played four seasons in the major leagues, all with the Texas Rangers from 2014-17, where he went 17-30 with a 4.77 ERA. His first start of the season was against the Giants, where he allowed just one run on five hits over five innings, but his last outing did not go nearly as well, as he gave up four runs on seven hits (three home runs), and four walks over five innings. He has a 4.50 ERA through his first ten innings in his return to MLB, it’s still to be determined how he’ll perform, but after trading Chris Paddack, the Padres obviously believe in him.

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Offense is down league wide. Worth monitoring over the next couple weeks, but it looks like the dead ball that was reportedly used sometimes last season is officially the 2022 ball.

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With Blake Treinen headed to the IL, Garrett Cleavinger has been called back up. Hopefully Treinen as well as Andrew Heaney will be healthy moving forward and these are just two precautionary moves.

Hanser Alberto is great.

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First pitch is at 6:40 PM PDT on SNLA.

About Allan Yamashige

Just a guy living in Southern California, having a good time writing about baseball. Hated baseball practice as a kid, but writing about it rules. Thanks for reading!