Dodgers v Padres Series Preview – April 13-15

April 13, 2012

Fresh off their sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Dodgers will look to continue their winning ways this weekend when they take the field against their division rivals from the south, the San Diego Padres.

Last weekend the Dodgers opened the season by taking 3 out of 4 games from the Friars.  The Dodgers have had the upper hand in this series going back to 2011, as they have won 16 of the last 22 games between the two teams, including 7 of 9 at Dodger Stadium.

Aaron Harang is slated to pitch tonight for the Dodgers.  Harang was roughed up in his Dodger debut on Sunday against the Padres, and indicated that he had a few nerves playing in front of his hometown (San Diego) fans in an opposing role.  He will be looking to bounce back with a solid Dodger home debut.  In his career, Harang has a record of 1-2 with a 3.65 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 24 1/3 innings pitched at Dodger Stadium.

Harang will be opposed by the Padres' Clayton Richard.  Richard threw 7 innings in a winning effort in his first start of the season versus the Dodgers last Sunday.  Richard will be making only his second start since undergoing season-ending arthroscopic surgery on his shoulder in 2011.  Richard has a career record of 2-1 at Dodger Stadium, with a 2.70 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 20 innings pitched.

On Saturday, Ted Lilly will make his 2012 debut for the Dodgers.  He was scheduled to be the Dodgers number three starter, however a stiff neck prevented Lilly from taking his first turn in the rotation.  Lilly has pitched well in the past against the Padres, posting a career record of 10-4 with a 2.68 ERA and 100 strikeouts in 104 innings pitched.

Opposite Lilly will be 22-year-old rookie Joe Wieland, making his major league debut after being called up from AAA Tucson.

Wieland was acquired last July in the trade that sent reliever Mike Adams to the Texas Rangers.  Wieland is rated the #74 prospect in baseball by Baseball Prospectus.  His strength is his control, as he walked only 21 batters in 155 innings pitched in the minor leagues last season.

In the series finale on Sunday, reigning Cy Young award winner Clayton Kershaw will get another chance at the Padres after being struck by the flu bug and pitching only three shutout innings on opening day at Petco Park.

Kershaw rebounded from his bout with the flu in the Dodgers’ home opener on Tuesday, allowing only 1 run in 7 innings while striking out 7 Pirates.

Kershaw will be matched up with new Padre Edinson Volquez.  Volquez pitched 7 solid innings in his last start against the Arizona Diamondbacks, resulting in a no decision.  That followed his strong start on opening day versus the Dodgers, where Volquez gave up 2 earned runs and 3 hits through 5 innings in a losing effort.

The Dodgers 3-4 hitters have been getting the job done early in the season.  Matt Kemp has picked up where he left off last year, driving in 9 runs through the first week of the season.  Andre Ethier has been providing solid protection for Kemp and has continued his pattern of strong Aprils with 10 RBI’s through the first week. Those totals are good for second and first respectively in the major leagues through 7 games.

In addition, Mark Ellis has proven to be a solid offseason acquisition for the Dodgers.  While not putting up gaudy stats, Ellis has proven on a number of occasions to be very capable of making productive outs and advancing base runners when the appropriate situation arises.

Meanwhile, the Padres lineup has been scuffling, with the highest average among their regulars being a lowly .250 from the #8 hitter in the lineup, shortstop Jason Bartlett.  They hope that the road will be friendlier to the offense than the pitcher’s haven that is Petco Park.  

By Chris Harker
Contributing Writer for The Daily Sports Herald

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