Much like 1988 and 1995, the Dodgers look tonight to clinch the National League West in San Diego. Petco Park figures to be packed with Dodger fans, much like it was over July 4th weekend, aka The Return of Manny Ramirez.
Chad Billingsley takes the ball tonight, looking not only to secure a spot in the postseason rotation, but also to get a good game under his belt, from start to finish. Billingsley made his major league debut in San Diego, on June 15, 2006, and is 2-1 with a 2.82 ERA in seven career starts down south.
Cesar Ramos will be making his first big league start tonight for the Padres, per Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Ramos, picked in the supplemental round in the 2005 draft, has allowed one run in 5.1 innings of relief this season. The 25-year old lefty was 6-7 with a 3.56 ERA (and a 4.67 FIP) in three minor league levels this year, mostly with Triple A Portland.
Andre Ethier is in a slump right now. Over his last seven plus games, Ethier is one for his last 24 with five walks.
The Dodgers have 45 road wins this season, with two road games left this season. That is tied for the 11th-most road wins since moving to Los Angeles. If the Dodgers can somehow win both games at Petco Park, they will be tied for the sixth-most road wins during that period.
The Dodgers are 17-5 in Tuesday games on KCAL this season, including five wins by eight or more runs.
Vicente Padilla is expected to be available out of the bullpen during this series. Whether it is today or tomorrow, I don't know.
Adrian Gonzalez is having a tremendous season for the Padres. He is the fourth Padre to hit 40 home runs in a season, and is tied with Prince Fielder for second place in Wins Above Replacement for first baseman, with 6.1 WAR, behind Albert Pujols. Gonzalez is sixth among MLB first baseman in plus/minus rating, at +10, and he leads all first baseman with a 5.1 Ultimate Zone Rating. All in all, Gonzalez is a great player and a complete one at that.
Gonzalez has really been hampered by Petco Park, and leads the majors with 28 home runs on the road. Still, he's no slouch at home, hitting .240/.399/.451 with 12 home runs. Why, that's almost as good as Road James Loney, hitting .317/.396/.488 away from Dodger Stadium, with 12 home runs. That's misleading of course, as only a scant few of Loney's games are at the stifling offensive environment of Petco. If only it were that simple.
Be sure to check out Xeifrank's simulation of tonight's game here.
Get your guesses in for our today's "One, Two, Three Strikes, You're Out," here.
Game Time: 7:05pm