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Dodgers & Padres meet on the upswing after slow starts

First meeting this season between NL West rivals

Los Angeles Dodgers v. San Diego Padres Photo by Adam Glanzman/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The Dodgers and Padres are the class of the National League West, but haven’t really played like it during most of the season’s first five weeks. But both teams are doing much better of late, heading into their first meeting of the year beginning Friday night at Petco Park.

Since Will Smith and Max Muncy were activated last Friday, the Dodgers won all six games on their homestand, scoring 50 runs and looking like a much more complete lineup, scoring in double digits in each of their last three games.

San Diego has won nine of their last 13 games, including an 8-4 record since Fernando Tatis Jr. rejoined the team after his 80-game suspension for testing positive for Clostebol last year. He’s had an uneven start, hitting .255/.293/.400 with two home runs and a 91 wRC+ while playing right field.

Dodgers vs. Padres

Statistic Dodgers Padres
Statistic Dodgers Padres
Record 19-13 (.594) 17-15 (.531)
Split record 7-7 on road 9-9 at home
Run diff. +42 (5th) -3 (18th)
R scored 5.69 (4th) 4.28 (16th)
HR 54 (2nd) 37 (11th)
wRC+ 117 (5th) 101 (15th)
R allowed 4.38 (12th) 4.38 (12th)
ERA 4.32 (14th) 4.33 (15th)
FIP 4.05 (10th) 4.65 (20th)
ERA- 102 (16th) 104 (18th)
K rate 21.8% (23rd) 22.0% (21st)
BB rate 7.0% (2nd) 9.0% (19th)
Bullpen ERA 4.43 (23rd) 4.11 (20th)
MLB ranks

With Tatis on board, the more complete Padres have averaged 5.33 runs per game, after averaging just 3.65 runs over their first 20 games.

J.D. Martinez is on the injured list with lower back tightness and he will miss this series in San Diego, but the Dodgers lineup is close enough to what it envisioned to open the season.

“We’re not completely whole, but it does feel good to have the guys we intended on being in the lineup every day, and feel really good about them,” manager Dave Roberts said over the weekend.

Both bullpens have struggled, with the Dodgers’ 4.43 ERA in relief 23rd in the majors, compared to 4.11 for the Padres bullpen, 20th in MLB.

But the starting pitchers are lined up nicely for the weekend, nearly all well-rested.

Clayton Kershaw starts Friday for the Dodgers on five days rest, after winning National League pitcher of the month for April. Dustin May will be on seven days rest on Saturday night, while Julio Urías slots in Sunday on four days rest after striking out 10 in seven innings on Tuesday.

Joe Musgrove has only pitched twice after missing the first three-plus weeks with a broken left big toe, and his last start was on the moon in Mexico City last weekend, so take his numbers with a grain of salt. Musgrove was originally slated for Friday, followed by Yu Darvish, and Blake Snell, but the Padres switched the order as well.

Dodgers vs. Padres schedule

  • Friday, 6:40 p.m. (SportsNet LA, MLB Network)
  • Saturday, 5:40 p.m. (SportsNet LA)
  • Sunday, 4:10 p.m. (ESPN)