This is the first meeting between the two southern California National League baseball teams in 2019. In 2018 the Dodgers went 14-5 against the Padres. They outscored the Padres 116-54. To say that the Dodgers benefited from playing their in-league (rivals?) 19 times is a little bit of an understatement.
The Dodgers have feasted on the Padres since 2011 while they have been rebuilding. This could change in 2019, as the Padres have a beefed up roster and 3 consecutive lefties starting against LA. Let’s break down the individual pitching matchups for each game and which hitters could have good results against the starters.
Friday, May 3rd
Probables: Clayton Kershaw v. Eric Lauer
Clayton Kershaw: CK has been statistically elite so far in our short 2019 results. He’s got a 2.25 ERA, 21 K’s in 20 innings, and a 0.75 WHIP. We’ve been talking about how Kershaw will still likely be effective, just with a lower strikeout rate. Well so far his K rate is still pretty good. How well have the Padres hit Kershaw?
Nobody has really fared well against Clayton, at least nobody with substantial experience. This matchup could be a good one, but we don’t know how well Manny Machado will fare against Clayton. That’s obviously the biggest mystery.
Eric Lauer: Eric Lauer has been a little erratic in 2019. He’s posting a 4.41 ERA, and his WHIP is 1.316. He’s had a few decent outings, but his inability to pitch 6 innings in all but 2 games is concerning for the Padres. This is pretty par for his short career so far, but the Padres were definitely hoping for more. Let’s see the Dodgers numbers against him.
It’s often joked that the Dodgers tend to make mediocre pitchers look un-hittable, and the Dodgers experience against Lauer gives that joke at least a little validity. Cody has pretty good experience in 6 at bats, and though Muncy only has 3 bat bats against him, he’s 2 for 3 with a home run. Look for Cody, Max, and Justin Turner to hit Lauer.
Saturday, May 4th
Probables: Rich Hill v. Joey Lucchesi
Rich Hill: Dick Mountain has only had one 2019 start so it’s unfair to parse it. He’s still looking to be effective in 2019, and the Dodgers are relying on that. Let’s see how the Padres have fare vs. Rich Hill.
Most of the Padres have been pretty bad against Rich Hill. The noted exception is Hunter Renfroe. He’s 6 for 18 against Hill with 2 dingers. Look for the Dodgers to be careful with him that day, as well as Manny of course.
Joey Lucchesi: I’ve talked with a handful of Padres fans who are very excited about Lucchesi in the past. The excitement hasn’t been met with great results however. His ERA is just a dab below 5, and he’s got a lot of hits per innings pitched, and his WHIP is pretty rough. How have the Dodgers done against Mr. Lucchesi?
Not a whole lot of experience against the young Lucchesi, obviously. Everybody has hits against him except for Turner and Verdugo, though Verdugo might be an entirely different player this year. Max is 2 for 2 against him, and Kiké is 3 for 8 against him with a dinger, so I’m guessing he’ll bat leadoff.
Exclusive Series Preview
For more series preview, Dodgers stats expert Rick Krajewski joins Clint Pasillas from our Blue Heaven Podcast to breakdown the series further.
Our thanks to Rick for taking time in his day to work with us!
Sunday, May 5th
Probables: Kenta Maeda v. Nick Margevicius
Kenta Maeda: Kenta’s had his struggles in 2019 so far. He’s got a 4.41 ERA, and he’s been walking a lot of batters so far. He’s had a few good starts (against the Giants notably) but he’s also gotten rocked a few times. Let’s see how the Padres has fared against him before.
4 different Padres have home runs against Kenta Maeda. They’ve posted a total of 17 RBI’s, too. This could be a dangerous night for the Dodgers. Will Myers has a .136 average against Maeda in 22 at bats. He’s miserable against Kenta Maeda. That said, the Dodgers are hoping Kenta can have better luck this outing.
Nick Margevicius: The Padres big rookie so far has impressed. His 3.32 ERA is pretty good, and his 1.109 WHIP is impressive for such a young age. Some of those peripherals are likely to regress, but he’s been pitching well so far in 2019. None of the Dodgers have face him obviously, so the analytics favor the right handed hitters against the 6’5 lefty.
The Overall Picture
This could be a changing of the guard in 2019. The Padres are throwing 3 consecutive LHP’s against LA, and the Dodgers are slashing .237/.332/.418 against lefties, as opposed to .263/.349/.473 against right handed pitchers. The Dodgers will have to reverse this trend, or beat up the Padres bullpen. Of the Dodger players to watch I think Justin Turner, Kiké Hernandez, David Freese, and even Chris Taylor are going to need to hit. They’re the right handed batters who are going to need to protect our lefty sluggers.
The good news is that the Padres have also stunk it up vs. southpaws. They’re slashing .204/.286/.409 against them. They’re slugging is a little higher against left handed pitchers, so the long ball will need to be a focus, but overall they’re not hitting lefties that great either.
This should be a great series.
[button link=”https://www.dodgersnation.com/dodgers-cody-bellinger-named-april-2019-nl-player-of-the-month/2019/05/02/” type=”big” color=”red”] Dodgers: Cody Bellinger Named April 2019 NL Player of the Month[/button]