While unable to deliver the kind of August they expected, the San Diego Padres know they at least can cause problems for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Padres are just 8-12 in August and now have 10 losses in their past 12 games after falling 5-2 to the visiting Dodgers on Tuesday. However, they provided a stiff challenge for their rival to the north, staying within a run over the first six innings and getting the tying run to the plate in the eighth and ninth innings.
The Padres, who are 7-4 against the Dodgers this season, played Tuesday for the first time since pitching coach Larry Rothschild was fired a day earlier.
“I don’t think there’s going to be a lot of drastic changes, whether it’s mechanically, mentally, physically,” said Padres manager Jayce Tingler, who named Ben Fritz as the interim pitching coach.
“I do believe that it’s not too late to play really good baseball and to stay in the fight and have an opportunity to get into the playoffs.”
The Padres went with a bullpen game Tuesday, with Pierce Johnson making his first start after 48 relief outings this season. He became San Diego’s 13th different starting pitcher this year.
On Wednesday, the Padres will go a more conventional route with left-hander Blake Snell (6-5, 4.82 ERA) scheduled to take the mound.
Snell was famously in control of a potent Dodgers offense in Game 6 of last year’s World Series with the Tampa Bay Rays. However, he was removed in the sixth inning with a runner on base even though he had not allowed a run to that point. The Dodgers rallied off the bullpen and clinched the championship.
Snell is 1-0 with a 2.35 ERA against Los Angeles in three starts this season. In 28 1/3 career innings against the Dodgers, counting the postseason, he has a 2.30 ERA.
The Dodgers will counter with right-hander Walker Buehler (13-2, 2.11 ERA), who is generating National League Cy Young Award buzz with his dominating season.
Buehler has not given up more than two runs in any of his past eight starts. He had a run of five consecutive starts in which he yielded one run or none before he gave up two in 7 2/3 innings against the New York Mets on Friday.
“It’s not something that I really care about,” Buehler said about a potential Cy Young Award. “I want us to win games and win the division and get to the playoffs and do what we did last year and what we set out to do every year.
“If I somehow put us in a position and have the type of year to be in that conversation, that’s great. But at the end of the day, it’s about winning games, and that’s my focus.”
Buehler’s only two losses this season came in games when the Dodgers were shut out, including a June 24 game against the Chicago Cubs when the Los Angeles offense was no-hit.
In two starts against the Padres this season, Buehler has a pair of no-decisions and a 2.77 ERA in 13 innings. In seven lifetime starts against the Padres, he is 4-0 with a 1.76 ERA and 58 strikeouts in 46 innings.
–Field Level Media