Dodgers @ Padres May 21, 2016: Adrian Gonzalez Returns to Lineup

The Dodgers look to bounce back after a shocking walk-off loss to San Diego in the series opener which included a rare blown save by closer Kenley Jansen. Saturday night’s game features an Alex Wood vs. Cesar Vargas rematch.

Adrian Gonzalez left Monday’s game in the sixth inning with lower back tightness. Saturday will be his first time back in the lineup since being sidelined for three consecutive games. He entered Friday’s game in a double switch and played two innings.

7:10 p.m. PT
San Diego
 2B  Utley  CF  Jay
SS  Seager  1B  Myers
3B  Turner  RF  Kemp
 1B  Gonzalez  LF  Upton
LF  Thompson  C  Norris
 CF  Pederson  3B  Wallace
RF  Puig  SS  Ramirez
C  Grandal  2B  Rosales
Wood (L)
Vargas (R)

Alex Wood (1-3, 4.17) is coming off a couple of solid starts against the Mets and Cardinals, but he is looking for his first win since April 13. He allowed 2 runs or less and struck out 14 in his last two games and seems more effective after adjusting the positioning of his bottom foot during his delivery.

#HomeWood is much more successful at Dodger Stadium than on the road this year so far. He is 0-3 with a 8.05 ERA in road games and 1-0 with a 1.37 ERA at home with 10 more strikeouts at home than on the road.

The good news is that Wood has pitched well in San Diego. He is 1-0 at Petco Park and has pitched 8 innings of shutout ball in one career start and one relief appearance down south. He is 2-1 with a 2.33 ERA against the Padres in 5 career games (4 starts).

Wood will have to pitch carefully to the right-handed batters in the San Diego lineup including Matt Kemp who is hitting .556/.556/1.000 with 5 hits including a double and a home run in 9 at-bats against him. Kemp was out of the lineup on Friday night but is penciled in on Saturday and hitting third. Melvin Upton Jr., the unlikely slayer of Kenley’s cutter the night prior, is hitting .500 with 3 hits in 7 at-bats vs. Wood.

Wood is also riding a four-game hitting streak of his own going into Saturday’s game.

The Padres send 24-year old right-hander Cesar Vargas (0-2, 3.55) to face the Dodgers for the second time this season. The Yankees originally signed Vargas in 2009 as an amateur free agent out of Mexico. The Padres signed Vargas as a free agent last November. He will be making his sixth career start on Saturday night, still looking for his first MLB victory.

Vargas has pitched well in his first two starts at home, only allowing 2 runs in 11 innings with 6 strikeouts. He has had control issues (hello, seven-walk Scott) and has walked 12 batters in 25 1/3 innings. He has a 90 mph fastball, a slider and a curve.

The Dodgers faced Vargas April 29 at Dodger Stadium and lost 5-1 to the Friars. Vargas pitched 5 1/3 innings of shutout ball and allowed 4 hits while striking out 6 and walking 3 in 5 1/3 innings of work. If you remember, Kemp burned Chris Hatcher by hitting a three-run home run against him, but Wood pitched well.

In rehab news, Hyun-jin Ryu is progressing in his journey back from shoulder surgery, and Sarah was there to document his start in Rancho Cucamonga on Friday.

Scott Van Slyke begins his minor league rehab assignment with the Quakes on Sunday.

The Dodgers have lost three straight games and are 3 1/2 games back of the Giants in the NL West.

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About 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, Dodger Blue 1958 and The Hardball Times. She currently contributes to True Blue LA. 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.