Returning home has helped solve some of the troubles for the recently offensive-challenged Los Angeles Dodgers. Although they’ve managed to score just two runs in each of their last two games, they’re in position Sunday to complete a three-game sweep of the San Diego Padres.
Zack Greinke and Mike Bolsinger have turned in strong outings to quiet the Padres and now the spotlights shifts to Carlos Frias. The 25-year-old right-hander is making his fifth start for the Dodgers this season and eighth appearance overall.
Frias enters the game with a 3-1 record and 2.55 ERA. He earned a win out of the bullpen April 27 and went 2-0 over his first three starts. Frias is coming off his lone loss, though certainly pitched well enough to win — allowing one run over seven innings against the San Francisco Giants.
Sunday marks the second time Frias has faced the Padres this season, though the first was in relief when he had two strikeouts in a scoreless inning out of the bullpen. As for the Dodgers, they get their second look at James Shields, first since Opening Day.
While the Padres lost Shields’ debut with the club, he didn’t earn a decision and is 5-0 with a 3.74 ERA in nine starts this season. Although the right-hander is undefeated and the Padres are 6-3 in games he’s started, Shields has been susceptible to the long ball.
He’s allowed at least one home run in all but one of his starts and is coming off an outing in which the Chicago Cubs twice cleared the fence. Howie Kendrick is a lifetime .517/.533/.897 (15-for-29) hitter against Shields with one home run, two triples, four doubles and three RBIs.
Adrian Gonzalez has also had success, batting .357/.406/.571 (10-for-28) with two home runs and four RBIs. Gonzalez remains two RBIs shy from becoming the 12th active player to reach 1,000. Seeing Shields could also prove dividends for the scuttling Jimmy Rollins, who’s hitting .455/.500/.818 (5-for-11) with one home run and four RBIs off the San Diego right-hander.
As expected, Austin Barnes makes his Major-League debut Sunday with a start behind the plate. Barnes has experience catching Frias during their time together in Triple-A, and the Dodgers have generally avoided starting the same backstop in a day-after-night game.
A win Sunday would give the Dodgers their first three-game series sweep of the Padres since doing so Aug. 30 – Sept. 1, 2013.
CF: Joc Pederson
SS: Jimmy Rollins
2B: Howie Kendrick
1B: Adrian Gonzalez
RF: Andre Ethier
3B: Alex Guerrero
LF: Kiké Hernandez
C: Austin Barnes
P: Carlos Frias
1B: Yangervis Solarte
CF: Will Venable
RF: Matt Kemp
LF: Justin Upton
C: Derek Norris
2B: Cory Spangenberg
3B: Will Middlebrooks
SS: Alexi Amarista
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