The Dodgers open up their final regular season home series of the year when they welcome the Padres to Dodger Stadium over the weekend. Welcome is the key word since the Dodgers have won 12 of the 16 games between these two clubs this season.
Holding a 2.5-game lead in the division after a sweep of the Rockies, the Dodgers will look to keep the fire lit. Winners in seven of the last eight games, and 13 of the last 19, Los Angeles is playing really good September baseball — the opposite of what they did last year.
They’ll face two more lefties in this series, which would’ve been a sentence to cringe at three weeks ago. But the Dodgers as a team have hit .289/.384/.540 against southpaws over their last 17 games, winning nine of the last 12 games when facing a left-handed starter.
Friday night was supposed to be an all-lefty matchup on the mound. That was before the Dodgers decided to flip Ross Stripling to Friday and Rich Hill to Saturday. With nine games to go over the last 10 days, the Dodgers have done some maneuvering to set up a potential playoff rotation.
We’ll get there later. Have to win the games in front of you first, but it’s looking good.
Friday, 7:10 p.m. PT (SportsNet LA, MLB Network*)
Stripling (8-4, 2.77) makes his third start since jumping back in the rotation on the road trip last week. The right-hander built back to 72 pitches on Sunday night and it’s not out of the question to go at least five innings for the first time since August 9.
Rookie Eric Lauer (5-7, 4.74) gets his third shot at the Dodgers after securing two of the four Padres wins against Los Angeles this year. Two of the five starts that Lauer has gone at least six innings have come against the Dodgers. The 23-year-old came within an out of tossing a complete game at Petco Park July 10 in a 4-1 win over the Dodgers.
Lauer has averaged just over four innings per start over his last six games, giving up 17 runs (16 earned) in 25 innings.
Saturday, 6:10 p.m. PT (SportsNet LA)
Jacob Nix (2-3, 5.75), another Padre rookie hasn’t fared well since going six scoreless in his MLB debut August 10. The right-hander has allowed 23 runs in 30 innings over six starts since that time.
Rich Hill (9-5, 4.02) has allowed four runs in each of his last three starts, but has won all three. The 38-year-old is 7-1 in his last eight decisions.
Sunday, 1:10 p.m. PT (SportsNet LA)
Hyun-jin Ryu (5-3, 2.18) is 4-2 with a 1.29 ERA in eight starts at home this season. The lefty has pitched well enough this season to be considered a trusted arm for some playoff games.
Joey Lucchesi (8-8, 3.74) is the third straight rookie to pitch against the Dodgers in this series. It’s also his third time facing Los Angeles this year. The 25-year-old has allowed three or less in 20 of his 24 starts, but is averaging five innings per game.
*=blacked out in local market