Last night, our Padres were officially eliminated from the playoffs. But before you pack it up and put the 2012 season behind you, remember that there are still nine games remaining in the regular season. That's nine more chances to cheer for our team before we are forced to watch nothing but non San Diego baseball teams battle it out for the coveted World Series title. Nine more opportunities to watch Everth Cabrera stealthily steal bases, Chase Headley hit balls like it's nobody's business, Cameron Maybin rob opponents of home runs, Yonder Alonso gracefully swing his bat, Yasmani Grandal throw out mother f_ckers, our pitching staff collect outs like TheThinGwynn collects baseball cards, and the rest of this 2012 roster put on a show and give us a preview of our promising future.
The final Padres homestand of the season begins tonight as our boys take on that other NL West team from Southern California. The Dodgers have made their way down the 5 from their home at Chavez Ravine and hope to keep their own playoff hopes alive. Over the weekend, they got their first series win in September, taking two of three from the Reds, who already clinched a playoff spot as the NL Central champions. Prior to the series in Cincinnati, L.A. had lost 10 of 14 and their postseason push was on a downward spiral.
Tonight Josh Beckett will try to lead the Dodgers to a victory at Petco Park. He's given our Friars trouble in the past, going 5-1 with a 2.16 ERA in six career outings (all quality starts) against San Diego. However, this will be his first time facing us since 2007, and he has been unsuccessful on the road lately. He's gone 0-5 in his last six road starts (three with the Dodgers). His last appearance started out hopeful as he went into the eighth inning with a 6-0 lead against the Nationals. But he gave up four runs (three earned) before exiting the game and the bullpen failed to preserve his lead, leaving him with a no-decision.
Edinson Volquez has also had some recent struggles. He has lost two of his last three starts, giving up 12 runs (11 earned) in 16 total innings while walking nine batters in that span. He is 1-2 all-time against the Dodgers, having collected both losses in his four starts against L.A. this year. But he has been pitching well at Petco Park, going 4-1 in his last six home starts while keeping his ERA under 2.00.
Despite coming to San Diego fresh off a series win against the Reds, L.A. has been struggling late in the season. Adrian Gonzalez went 25 games without homering prior to his two-home-run game on Sunday. Hanley Ramirez is currently riding a 17-game homerless streak. Shane Victorino, who sat out of the Reds series with a strained wrist, is expected to return to the lineup today riding a 1-for-20 hitting slump. All three players were acquired in the middle of the season to try to beef up L.A.'s linwup, but that has apparently seemed to hurt more than help.
The Dodgers are seeking their 11th win tonight in 16 games at Petco Park. They haven't lost a series in San Diego in two seasons. However, their last time here was all the way back in May, and the team they faced at that point in the season was a far cry from the one they will face this series. Since July 7th, our Friars have won 23 of 30 games played at home. They've also taken the last two series overall against the Dodgers, most recently taking two of three September 3rd - 5th. Our boys spent most of August and September so far dominating playoff-hopeful teams, and this series is just another chance to do that.
3 game series vs Dodgers @ Petco Park
|Wed 09/26||3:35 PM PDT|
|Thu 09/27||7:05 PM PDT|