The winning streak ends at six, as the Dodgers drop the opener against the Padres, 5-2 on Friday night at Petco Park. Yu Darvish got the better of the Los Angeles offense and Fernando Tatis Jr. took Clayton Kershaw deep twice.
It was an uncharacteristic night, as Kershaw and the staff as a whole suffered with too many base on balls, while the lineup failed to capitalize on the early chances it had against Darvish.
Tatis. makes his case as the newest Kershaw nemesis
Following the Dodgers over the last decade has been a unique experience, where seldom you get starstruck against any opponent at any time, but the Padres in 2023 just might be the rarest of exceptions.
Tonight’s game is an example of that, as Tatis had his “I’m back” moment, after serving the final 20 games of his PED suspension to begin the year, taking the future Hall of Fame pitcher deep, twice.
Kershaw got the first laugh, striking out Tatis Jr. in the first inning on a slider, but on a night in which the left-hander was far from his best self, walking five batters, his highest mark in four seasons, the Padres right fielder got the last laugh, going deep in his following two at bats.
Things We Love To See— San Diego Padres (@Padres) May 6, 2023
└ Tatis HRs#BringTheGold pic.twitter.com/KB8EzIBe1u
NANDO. AGAIN. #BringTheGold pic.twitter.com/3VcL9wZJSJ— San Diego Padres (@Padres) May 6, 2023
The first homer there isn’t a whole lot you can do as a pitcher other than tip your cap to the Padres’ superstar, for turning on a heater in the black, at the top of the zone.
After that bomb, Kershaw came back with a slider-heavy approach in the third at-bat against Tatis Jr., and while that worked initially, getting the left-hander into a two-strike count, Kershaw hung one before he could finish off Tatis Jr., and he paid for it.
Overall now, Tatis Jr. is 7-for-23 off Kershaw, with four home runs, and a couple of walks.
Beyond the five walks, which can’t really be understated, Kershaw didn’t pitch as poorly as his final line of four runs over four and two-thirds innings would reflect, in fact, he earned more strikeouts (seven to six), and fewer hard-hit balls (five to nine) than Darvish.
Thanks to Phil Bickford, who was able to get Austin Nola to ground out with the bases loaded and two outs, Kershaw kept alive his streak of never allowing more than four earned runs in a start against the Padres.
Darvish navigates troublesome first to keep Dodgers’ bats in check
The game began about as well as it could have for the Dodgers with Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman setting up a second and third situation, with no outs, in the first inning. However, Darvish limited the damage, surrendering a single run on a Max Muncy groundout, and from then on, the offense stalled.
Darvish escaped a worse fate in the second, as Miguel Vargas smoked a one-out triple to right field, only to get caught in a line drive double play in the next at-bat, as David Peralta also smoked a ball, but right into the glove of Jake Cronenworth at second base. What could have been the second run of the game became the end of the inning.
The Dodgers wouldn’t get back on the board until the seventh, when trailing 4-1, Jason Heyward drove in Will Smith, on a double down the right field line.
The tables turned on this one, as the Padres compile the walks
The Dodgers entered tonight’s game as the top team in walks on the season, with 146, and yet, it was San Diego who showed elite plate discipline in the opener of the series, earning 11 walks off Dodgers pitching, the highest mark this team’s conceded in seven seasons.
Although, particularly against the bullpen, one could probably fault Shelby Miller and Wander Suero’s lack of command, rather than any true impact by the Padres hitters, as the two relievers both managed to walk the bases loaded, but only conceding a run between the two of them.
Joe Davis mentioned during the SportsNet LA broadcast that Max Muncy was sick with the same stomach bug that ailed Trayce Thompson earlier in the week, and that the Dodgers third baseman would probably have sat out Thursday if the Dodgers had a game.
Down by a couple of runs in the eighth inning, and with Josh Hader, a left-hander looming for the ninth, Roberts decided to end Muncy’s night a little early, subbing Chris Taylor in to play third base. Taylor struck out in the ninth inning.
Max Muncy’s been dealing with “flu-like symptoms,” Dave Roberts said. Was a 50-50 call to be in the lineup today.— Fabian Ardaya (@FabianArdaya) May 6, 2023
#Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Max Muncy was sick all day and he wanted to get him off the field at that point in the game.— Juan Toribio (@juanctoribio) May 6, 2023
Home runs: Fernando Tatis Jr. 2 (4)
WP — Yu Darvish (2-2): 6⅔ IP, 4 hits, 2 runs (1 earned), 1 walk, 6 strikeouts
LP — Clayton Kershaw (5-2): 4⅔ IP, 8 hits, 4 runs, 5 walks, 7 strikeouts
SV — Josh Hader (11) 1 IP, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts
The Dodgers will send out Dustin May for the second game of this series on Saturday night (5:40 p.m., SportsNet LA), facing Padres left-hander Blake Snell.