Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers get to face historically bad Padres offense

Denis Poroy

The Dodgers return home, hopefully after rendering all garments worn in the two-day Detroit debacle, to finish their pre-All-Star break schedule with four games at Dodger Stadium against the offensively inept San Diego Padres.

The Padres are hitting .216/.276/.338 as a team, and through 91 games they are averaging 2.99 runs per game. The last time a team scored under three runs per game was 1972, when the Angels (2.93) and Rangers (2.99) were allergic to home plate. The next year, the American League adopted the designated hitter.

San Diego hasn't just been a team held down by their pitcher-friendly home of Petco Park, either. Their adjusted OPS+, where 100 is average, is 77, a number so low that only 18 teams in history have reached that low*. Only once in the past 20 years has a team reached so low offensively: the 2004 Diamondbacks (77 OPS+), a team that lost 111 games.

Similarly, the Padres' adjusted weighted runs created (wRC+), which incorporates linear weights and baserunning and is adjusted for park and league, is just 74, tied for 19th-worst since 1901.

San Diego has been even worse since June 1, hitting .194/.261/.297 while scoring 2.54 runs per game. That's the offense the Dodgers pitching staff gets to face in Los Angeles, where the Dodgers have won five of their last six against the Padres.

But the San Diego pitching staff has helped this shambles of an offense save face somewhat, at 40-51 and only 11 games under .500, in third place in the National League West. Will they see a Dodgers offense that put up crooked numbers eight times in a 28-inning stretch on the road trip, or the one that scored once in the final 17 innings in Detroit?

Here are your pitching matchups for the weekend:

Thursday, 7:10 p.m. (SportsNet LA)

Clayton Kershaw takes his 36-inning scoreless streak into the series opener, trying to inch up the historical ladder in his final start before Tuesday at Target Field. Odrisamer Despaigne has allowed two runs in his three major league starts, but he also has eight walks and only five strikeouts in 19⅔ innings. Kershaw at the time of his eighth walk this season had 70 strikeouts.

Kershaw has yet to face the Padres this season.

Friday, 7:10 p.m. (SportsNet LA)

Dan Haren's seven scoreless innings on June 30 came in his last home start and stands out like a lonely beacon of hope in an otherwise bleak two months. In his last 11 starts Haren has a 4.98 ERA and 16 home runs allowed, including six multi-homer games, five of which were lost by the Dodgers. Jesse Hahn, 24, came over from the Rays in January in the Brad Boxberger / Logan Forsythe trade (who doesn't remember where they were the exact moment they heard the news of that blockbuster?). In six major league starts the right-hander is 4-2 with a 2.34 ERA and 41 strikeouts to go with just 13 walks in 34⅔ innings.

Saturday, 7:10 p.m. (SportsNet LA, MLB Network)

This would have been Josh Beckett's spot, but he was placed on the disabled list with a left hip impingement. Red Patterson is the likely candidate to come up for the spot start, in what will be he second major league appearance. The right-hander has a 5.15 ERA in 16 starts with Triple-A Albuquerque, with 72 strikeouts and 21 walks in 85⅔ innings. The Dodgers have touched Ian Kennedy for eight runs in 10 innings in two starts this year, but have split both games with San Diego. Kennedy in two July starts has allowed two runs in 13 innings, with 14 strikeouts and three walks.

Sunday, 1:10 p.m. (SportsNet LA)

Hyun-jin Ryu is coming off seven runs allowed with seven outs recorded on Tuesday in Detroit, the fifth time in his career he has allowed at least five runs in a start. After the previous four clunkers, Ryu in his next time on the mound is 3-0 with a 2.49 ERA and 28 strikeouts against seven walks in 25⅓ innings. Tyson Ross, named an All-Star but won't pitch in Minnesota because of this Sunday start, has allowed one or zero runs in seven of 19 starts, including a shutout of the Reds on July 2 in San Diego, with nine strikeouts and no walks.

*Thanks to Steven Goldman for the research

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