Fresh off a victory that included five home runs from the offense and solid pitching all around, the Los Angeles Dodgers take on the San Diego Padres for the third of their four-game series at Petco Park.
With a San Francisco Giants loss on Friday night, the Dodgers now own a comfortable 7.5-game lead in the National League West and are a season-best 18 games over .500 at 76-58. The Padres are just 5-9 this year against Los Angeles and overall are 65-70, tied for fourth place in the division.
Starting for the Dodgers is southpaw Alex Wood, who is coming off an excellent outing against the Chicago Cubs. In six innings pitched, he allowed two earned runs and struck out seven.
Wood has yet to face San Diego this season but has two previous appearances (one start) against them as a member of the Atlanta Braves. In six combined innings, he allowed 12 hits and four earned runs — amounting to a 6.00 ERA and 2.17 WHIP.
On the mound for the Padres is former All-Star Tyson Ross, who is in the midst of another solid season. In his last start against the Texas Rangers, he tossed seven shutout innings, allowing just three hits and striking out seven.
Ross last faced the Dodgers on April 7 in Los Angeles, the second game of the season, in which he yielded nine baserunners (six hits, three walks) and two earned runs in six innings pitched. For his career, he is 0-5 against Los Angeles but owns a 2.81 ERA in 48 innings.
One hitter to watch for Saturday’s contest is Carl Crawford, who homered on Friday and is swinging a hot bat as of late (nine hits in his last 26 at-bats). In 19 career plate appearances against Ross, he’s slashing .533/.632/.733 with three doubles.
Additionally, Crawford’s lifetime .342 batting average against the Padres is the highest among any active player. Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez continues to crush his former team, as evidenced by his home run on Friday.
It was his 26th of the season and his seventh in 14 games against San Diego. In addition, his .319 career batting average against the Padres is fifth-best among active players. Since Aug. 22, the Dodgers bullpen has collectively posted a 2.68 ERA — third-best in the National League behind the Giants and Miami Marlins.
Los Angeles has also stolen 14 bases during that span, which leads the Majors. Improvements in both of these areas have undoubtedly been vital during the team’s recent surge.
Padres right fielder Matt Kemp belted his 200th career home run on Friday night, his first against the Dodgers, and continues to feast on second half pitching. In 185 plate appearances since the All-Star Game, he has posted a .908 on-base plus slugging with 19 extra-base hits (10 home runs, eight doubles, one triple).
SS: Jimmy Rollins
2B: Chase Utley
1B: Adrian Gonzalez
3B: Justin Turner
RF: Andre Ethier
LF: Carl Crawford
C: Yasmani Grandal
CF: Joc Pederson
P: Alex Wood
3B: Yangervis Solarte
2B: Jedd Gyorko
RF: Matt Kemp
LF: Justin Upton
1B: Derek Norris
CF: Wil Myers
C: Austin Hedges
SS: Clint Barmes
P: Tyson Ross