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Dodgers Series Preview: Los Angeles Heads to San Diego for NL West Showdown

MILWAUKEE, WI - OCTOBER 20: Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws a pitch against the Milwaukee Brewers during the ninth inning in Game Seven of the National League Championship Series at Miller Park on October 20, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

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]

Written by AJ Gonzalez

AJ is a lifelong Dodgers fan who grew up in California. His whole family are also lifelong Dodgers fans. He lives in Tennessee with his wife, daughter, beagle, and strat.

11 Comments

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  1. AJ Gonzalez, great article previewing what the Dodgers will face with 3-LHP which means NO Pederson batting lead-off or even playing, unless the Dodgers can get the LH-starter out of the game. I don’t know why the Dodgers decision-makers don’t make adjustments(especially the NL-West) when faced with LHPs. Play Pederson, lead-off or further down the line-up. I guess the Dodgers like losing(especially in the post-season). The blueprint to beat LA is clear.

  2. AJ, your analysis of the series focusing on the pitching match-ups is excellent, and reinforces my thoughts about platooning : it will cost us in the loss column. Not playing Joc is silly; as Robin states, why not bat Joc lower in the batting order? We continue to platoon and expect that results will get better. How many more losses must we endure before someone in the FO gets wise to the fact that platooning does nothing more than create doubts in player’s minds that their talent is being wasted. Go Blue!!

    • Blue LOU! concur with you here, as does PD Jr. does. If I were Joc, I would ask for a trade if in fact he appears to be sitting now for quite some time because every team will throw any LHP at this team that they can get their hands on. As noted on another blog, Dodgers seriously lack RH hitting depth, which in part explains why Pollock’s roster spot was given to a journey man only LHB in Beaty.

      • AZUL, our victory Friday evening was much-needed. Hopefully, we can take another game this evening. Glad to hear that PD Jr. is providing us with positive game feedback!!!! Have a great weekend. Go Blue!!!

  3. Surprise, surprise, Pederson started(battted 8th) with a LHP to begin the game. I guess this will be the current Kershaw i.e. giving up home-runs to Machado and Kinsler. I know the past two seasons Kershaw has been serving-up more home runs than Dodger fans would like.

    • I don’t get why he chooses to go with that so called slider down and in with 2 strikes it always gets crushed when he’s just the slightest bit off in location. What happened to that big curveball he used to always throw with 2 strikes? Both Puig and Machado knew that flat “slider” was coming

      • Interestingly enough, now former Dodgers Grandal, Puig and now Machado have all gone deep against the Dodgers. I would figure Honeycutt and the pitchers would KNOW these players strengths and or weaknesses…

        • Dodgers always seem to have to learn the hard way even when us nobodies had thoughts that they should’ve had as well

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