Earlier this season the Dodgers used the Padres to help springboard them out of a rut. Now they will try to repeat the feat with a climb back to .500, but this weekend the series is in Monterrey, Mexico.
There is regular season baseball in Mexico for the first time since 1999, and for the Dodgers this is their first-ever game that counts in Mexico. The Dodgers have played in Monterrey before, but that was a pair of exhibition games in 1991.
When these two teams met at Petco Park from Apr. 16-18 the Dodgers scored 30 runs in three games, and after reaching five games under .500 was back even within a game of leaving San Diego.
Before that last series the Dodgers lost three straight to fall five games under .500, then salvaged a series finale against Arizona to lead into the Padres series.
Before this series the Dodgers lost four straight to fall five games under .500, then salvaged the final two games against Arizona heading into the Padres series.
The Padres are technically the home team this weekend in Monterrey, but good luck telling that to the fans at Estadio de Beisbol Monterrey.
Since the Dodgers left San Diego two weeks ago the Padres have won four games in four series and have been held to two or fewer runs in half of their last 12 games.
Walker Buehler gets a chance to hold the Padres down on Friday night, making his third major league start. He was optioned after each of his first two starts, but figures to get an extended run now with Hyun-jin Ryu out for awhile.
Between the majors and minors this season Buehler has a 1.96 ERA in five starts, with 27 strikeouts and eight walks in 23 innings. Opposing right-handers are hitting just .241/.328/.278 against him, but lefties have fared even worse, batting .206/.250/.294. In his two major league starts Buehler hasn’t yet allowed an extra-base hit in 43 plate appearances.
The Padres are also starting a rookie in the Mexico opener, with left-hander Joey Lucchesi the relative veteran of the group with his 32⅓ innings compared to Buehler’s 19⅓. Lucchesi, who is 13 months older than Buehler, has impressed so far in his six starts, posting a 2.78 ERA with 35 strikeouts and 10 walks.
The Dodgers are 6-5 in games started by opposing southpaws this season.
Location: Estadio de Béisbol Monterrey
Time: 6:10 p.m. PT
TV: SportsNet LA, MLB Network