Petco Park is all abuzz this weekend as the San Diego Padres (9-5) and Los Angeles Dodgers (11-2) go head-to-head for the first time this season. The Dodgers made a statement going 6-0 on their homestand, sweeping the Nationals and Rockies. They’ll finally really be tested in the highly anticipated three-game series against the Friars, opening Friday night.
|7:10 P.M.||San Diego|
|SS||Seager (L)||SS||Tatis Jr.|
|1B||Muncy (L)||1B||Hosmer (L)|
|2B||McKinstry (L)||LF||Profar (S)|
|P||Buehler (R)||P||Weathers (L)|
San Diego went to a less restrictive tier, allowing for 33 percent capacity at Petco Park. Some sections will be at 67 percent capacity for fans who are fully vaccinated or have tested negative for COVID-19. Petco will be alive with Padres and Dodgers fans alike when the two talented teams clash.
The pitching matchups for the weekend:
Dave Roberts and the Dodgers are taking the series seriously. Some have the Padres as favorites to win the division, and the Dodgers want to send a message. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Roberts sat Mookie Betts and Corey Seager on Thursday and didn’t use any of his late inning guys like Kenley Jansen, Blake Treinen or Corey Knebel.
We haven’t seen a Padres team like this in a while. It’s their first chance to show off the goods they got during their offseason splurge. The Padres did their best to copy the Dodgers’ roadmap as far as building roster depth. They re-signed Jurickson Profar for his versatility and added Ha-Seong Kim. They wanted to compete with the Dodgers’ deep starting rotation — especially after they signed Trevor Bauer — so they traded for Joe Musgrove. This was after they got old friend Yu Darvish and Blake Snell. I guess I can see why Padres fans are riled up. They haven’t won the season series vs. the Dodgers since 2010.
This makes for good baseball, but I’m not going to put too much stock in an April regular-season series. The two teams match up 19 times this year.
The Padres start rookie left-hander Weathers (1-0, 1.50 ERA, 3.97 FIP) in the series opener for his first career big league start. He made his MLB debut last postseason against the Dodgers. The former first-round draft pick has allowed one run in three relief appearances this season (6 IP). 21-year old Weathers has only 32 professional starts in his career. He has a four-seamer and slider which we got a glimpse of last fall.
San Diego’s pitching staff leads the NL with a 2.38 ERA and are third in K/9 (10.37). Their bullpen has been extremely effective with a 1.94 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 71 Ks in 60 1/3 innings. The Dodgers’ pen has a combined ERA of 3.44 in April.
Buehler makes his third start of the season. He picked up his first win of 2021 last time out against the Nats, pitching six scoreless innings. Historically Buehler’s dominated the Padres with a record of 4-0 and a 1.36 ERA with a 0.727 WHIP in 33 career IP against them.
As for the Dodgers’ offense this month, let the stats speak for themselves. I’d like to add that Clayton Kershaw also has an OPS of 1.000.
Justin Turner‘s hitting over .400, Max Muncy‘s OBP is .519, and Zach McKinstry‘s legend grows each game. McKinstry, the last position player to make it on the Dodgers roster out of Spring Training, is admirably filling in for the injured Cody Bellinger.
Both teams have been dealing with some early season injuries. Fernando Tatis Jr. was activated from the IL prior to the game. Tatis partially dislocated his left shoulder and partially tore his labrum on a swing.
The news wasn’t as good for Bellinger.
The Dodgers might get Brusdar Graterol back this weekend.