Padres face key test vs. visiting Dodgers

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It’s still early in the shortened baseball season, but the San Diego Padres might feel some urgency on Wednesday heading into the rubber game of a three-game series against the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers.

A win would not only give the Padres a morale-boosting series victory over the perennial National League West champions, but it also would give San Diego the same record as the Dodgers with the clubs set to play four times in Los Angeles next week.

The Padres were 4-6 at Dodger Stadium last season.

Wednesday’s game is a showdown of right-handers with Garrett Richards (0-0, 3.38 ERA) starting for the Padres against the Dodgers’ Ross Stripling (2-0, 2.92). It will be an interesting matchup. Richards and Stripling are both known for their stuff and command. The first two games of series featured velocity on both sides.

The Padres have to be smarting from the events of Tuesday — losing after Dinelson Lamet pitched 5 2/3 no-hit innings and the game turning against the hosts on a pair of costly errors.

“You can’t give the Dodgers extra outs and extra bases,” said Padres manager Jayce Tingler, who backed off a comment after he said his team “threw it away.”

Richards will be making his third start of the season Wednesday. Coming off 2018 Tommy John surgery, Richards has allowed four runs on nine hits and four walks with 12 strikeouts in 10 2/3 innings this season in starts against Arizona and Colorado.

Richards will be making his seventh career appearance and fifth start against the Dodgers, although this will be his first start against the Dodgers since Sept. 9, 2015, when he faced them in an interleague game while with the Angels.

Richards has a 1-0 career mark against the Dodgers with a 1.78 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and .221 opponents’ batting average. He has worked 30 1/3 innings against Los Angeles, giving up seven runs (six earned) on 23 hits and 12 walks with 30 strikeouts.

While Richards, 32, is a slider/cutter pitcher, the 30-year-old Stripling features a killer curve. And he’s been at his best in the Padres’ home ballpark.

Stripling has a 3-1 career record at Petco Park with a 1.96 ERA a 1.04 WHIP and a .206 opponents’ batting average over 18 1/3 innings in eight appearances (two starts). He has struck out 24 Padres at Petco Park. Overall against the Padres, Stripling is 4-5 with a 3.57 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP in 15 appearances (seven starts). The Padres have hit .260 against him.

Stripling made 15 starts for the Dodgers in 2019 with 17 appearances out of the bullpen. He was 4-4 with a 3.47 ERA (matching his career ERA) and a 1.15 WHIP. Now solidly in the rotation, Stripling has allowed four runs on eight hits and two walks with nine strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings in two 2020 starts. His WHIP is an excellent 0.81.

Stripling’s strength is his command. He has allowed 2.1 walks per nine innings over his career.

–Field Level Media

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