After splitting the first two games, the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres will play the rubber match in their three-game series on Wednesday. If the first two games of the series are any indication, the Dodgers will likely control the game before things get interesting in the eighth and ninth innings.
Dan Haren is taking the mound for the first time this season. Haren reported a tired arm prior to the Dodgers leaving for Australia and was left at Camelback Ranch to recover and go through rehab work. He last started in Saturday’s exhibition game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, which resulted in a disappointing performance from the right-hander. Dodger manager Don Mattingly started Haren with the mindset of getting the pitcher two innings of work in preparation for his debut on Wednesday, but Haren’s struggles certainly were not part of the plan. In total, Haren started four Spring Training games, finishing with an 0-1 record 6.00 ERA in 12 innings pitched.
With the Washington Nationals last season, Haren posted a 10-14 record and lost his only outing at Petco Park, allowing seven runs in five innings. The Dodgers signed Haren with the idea of having him serve as the fourth starter in the rotation, but he may now be relied upon even more with Clayton Kershaw’s injury that some fear could keep him out until June. Haren’s ability to pitch well and go deep into Wednesday’s game will be key as Zack Greinke only threw five innings on Tuesday, leading five relievers being used. The Dodger bullpen lost its’ setup man with Brian Wilson placed on the disabled list due to nerve irritation in his elbow; however, hard-throwing right-hander Jose Dominguez was recalled.
Starting for the Padres is hard-throwing Tyson Ross. In his first season with the Padres in 2013, Ross started just 16 of his 35 game appearances, finishing with a 3-8 record. He threw 125 innings and struck out 119, both significant increases from his 2012 totals with the Oakland A’s. Ross started five games in Spring Training, accumulating a 1-1 record and 4.66 ERA. He pitched relatively well through his first three starts before the Colorado Rockies hit him hard for six runs in 4.1 innings.
Prior to Yasiel Puig’s two-run home run off Ian Kennedy on Tuesday, Dodger batters have been relatively quiet in the series. In particular, Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez and Andre Ethier, the Dodgers 3-4-5 hitters who have gone a combined 0-for-23 with one walk and six strikeouts. Carl Crawford and Gonzalez, who each have had six at-bats against Ross, are hitting .667 and .500, respectively. Meanwhile Puig, who has faced Ross four times, is batting .500 with one home run and two RBIs. Mattingly goes with the same lineup from the previous two games.
SS: Cabrera SS
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