Padres @ Dodgers – September 11, 2023: Beginning a meaningless series against San Diego

While it was inevitable for months now, I just felt the need to point out the Dodgers (87-55) have just 20 games remaining in the regular season schedule and hold a 21-game lead over the Padres (67-77) in the National League West.

When I had the game thread for the most recent game against San Diego, I very smugly declared the following:

With the Padres currently 10 games back of the Dodgers, and just 15 games remaining for San Diego once that series concludes, that may be just about when they are officially eliminated from the division race.

The Padres couldn’t even make it to Sept. 11 without being eliminated from the division race. Considering they only have 18 games remaining, they have actually be eliminated for a few days now as they have gone 12-19 since that last meeting on Aug. 7. While they are still just 8 games out of the National League Wild Card race and can’t be eliminated from postseason contention in this final series against the Dodgers, that will be the case soon for the Padres. On the other hand, the Dodgers are closing in on clinching the National League West with a 13-game lead over the D-backs who have 18 games left and the No. 2 seed in the NL with an 8-game lead over the Brewers.

As for today’s game, Ryan Yarbrough landed on the paternity list following his start on Sunday which allowed the Dodgers to bring Gavin Stone back to the majors for a start tonight.

Instead of that plan, Wander Suero‘s return to the Dodgers lasted just one outing as he has “back tightness.”

Why is Stone on the mound when Clayton Kershaw was supposed to start today? Well, in case you missed it, here is the news from Sunday afternoon.

Jack summed it all up pretty well there as the Dodgers’ plan for Kershaw continues to change. As I mentioned last week after his start in Miami, Kershaw looked like he would max out with 25 or 26 starts this season to lead the team. Pushing him back to Friday means that t6is now likely to be 25 at best depending on how they arrange the final week of the regular season and plan out their time off during the NL Wild Card round.

Wait, did I say Friday? Make that Saturday.

Chad’s response is probably the reaction of most people following along with this.

We likely won’t get the full story about what is actually wrong until a few days after the Dodgers’ season concludes, whenever that is during the postseason.

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7:10 P.M. Los Angeles
2B Kim 2B Betts
RF Tatis 1B Freeman (L)
LF Soto (L) C Smith
DH Machado 3B Muncy (L)
SS Bogaerts DH Martinez
1B Profar (S) RF Heyward (L)
C Campusano LF Taylor
3B Batten CF Outman (L)
CF Grisham (L) SS Rojas
P Avila (R) P Stone (R)

David Peralta left yesterday’s game early after being hit on the elbow, but X-rays were negative. While he will not be in the line-up against the right-handed Pedro Avila, he is available off the bench tonight.

Otherwise it is pretty much exactly what you would expect from the Dodgers.


As for the pitching match-up, Stone will face the Padres for the first time in his career as he returns to the majors following his 6-inning outing in Boston back on Aug. 27. Avila will face the Dodgers for the second time in 2023 and third time in his 15th career appearance in the majors. Back on Aug. 6, Avila pitched 4 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts to five hits and just one walk. The lone run allowed came on a solo home run for Mookie Betts in the 8th as Avila entered for Rich Hill in the 4th inning.

While neither pitcher has seen much work in the majors this season, here’s a comparison between the two starters.


Stone’s return to the majors on Aug. 27 included a 20% usage of a sinker which had not been thrown in his four other appearances in the majors this season while his cutter dropped to 22.5% from 54% on July 4. Of course, he also hadn’t thrown a cutter really at all in his first three outings with the fastball and change-up have stabilized a bit from where they were in his major league debut.

Those two pitches were used almost identically in his past two starts while he’s worked on some other pitches, with the fastball at 28.8% on Aug. 27/22% on July 4 and the change at 27.5% on Aug. 27/24% on July 4. The fastball was up to 95.2 mph and 94.7 mph in those two most recent starts after finishing down at 93-94 in the first three starts. Honestly who knows what they are going to get from Stone, but the first 6 innings of his outing (after Caleb Ferguson opened the game) in Boston went very smoothly before the Dodgers left him in to allow homers to Justin Turner and Adam Duvall without recording an out in the 8th.


First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m from Dodger Stadium on SportsNet LA.

About Cody Bashore

Cody Bashore is a lifelong Dodger fan originally from Carpinteria, California (about 80 miles north of Dodger Stadium along the coast). He left California to attend Northern Arizona University in 2011, and has lived in Arizona full-time since he graduated in 2014 with a journalism degree.