The Dodgers and Padres meet for the second time in as many weeks, and if the games are anything close to the ones we saw in San Diego, these next four games at Dodger Stadium will be a joy to watch.
One worrisome point — and this is a relative term, with a 14-4 record at the moment — is the offense slumping of late. The Dodgers have scored just eight runs in their last four games, and have been held to three runs or less seven times in the last 12 games, hitting only .203/.300/.378 during that time.
Being without Cody Bellinger for over two weeks hasn’t helped, and Gavin Lux missing the last five games has cut further into the depth. Neither will play in the Padres series, though Lux is expected to be activated Monday, if all goes well with his sore right wrist this weekend.
Mookie Betts hasn’t batted in six of those last 12 games, first dealing with back tightness, then getting hit by a pitch on his right forearm Monday, though X-rays were negative. The plan is for him to start the series opener on Thursday, so that should provide a boost.
Even with the recent slump, the Dodgers are hitting .248/.345/.433, with the second-best on-base percentage and third-best wRC+ (116) in MLB, leading the National League in both categories. They weren’t going to have a .380 on-base percentage all year.
“Baseball goes in waves, you know. We started off pretty hot, and we can win games in a lot of different ways,” said catcher Austin Barnes. “Our pitching always keeps us in the game. That’s important.”
|Thu, Apr 22||7:10 p.m.||Buehler vs. Weathers (L)||SNLA/MLBN*|
|Fri, Apr 23||7:10 p.m.||Kershaw (L) vs. Darvish||SNLA/MLBN*|
|Sat, Apr 24||6:10 p.m.||Bauer vs. Snell (L)||SNLA/MLBN*|
|Sun, Apr 25||4:08 p.m.||May vs. Musgrove||ESPN/ESPN2|
That pitching during the same 12-game stretch has a 1.98 ERA and five shutouts, which has helped them to a 9-3 record during that relative offensive slump.
The first three games against the Padres feature the same pitching matchups as last weekend. San Diego starters — Ryan Weathers, Yu Darvish, and Blake Snell — held the Dodgers to just three runs in 15⅔ innings at Petco Park, and figure to be a handful again in Los Angeles, especially if Weathers is more stretched out after making his first major league start.
The Dodgers also scored 12 runs in 13⅓ innings against Padres relievers, as big a reason as any they won two of three games in the series. That’s been the name of the game for the Dodgers offense in the early going — wear down the opposing starter, and get into the bullpen. Starting pitchers against the Dodgers this season are averaging ... innings and have a 4.94 ERA. Opposing bullpens have pitched more innings (90⅓) than starters (85⅔) against Los Angeles.
Sunday’s game — televised nationally by both ESPN and the Statcast broadcast on ESPN2 — means the Dodgers have to face Joe Musgrove, who has allowed all of three runs in four starts, including the first no-hitter in Padres history and a 13-strikeout performance. No word if Musgrove will play left field again in this series though.