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San Diego continues its efforts to put the postseason even more out of reach for Los Angeles.
Tonight our Padres go for the first series win against the Dodgers since 2009. Do you guys remember that? Much like this year, our boys were riding a hot streak in the second half of the season. The Dodgers came to Petco Park for a two-game set and needed just one win to clinch the NL West. But our Padres said, "NOT IN OUR HOUSE" and proceeded to SWEEP L.A. to prevent them from celebrating their division title on our field and in our visitors' clubhouse. The Dodgers left Petco Park with uncorked champagne bottles thanks to some end-of-the season badassery by our Friars, who then went on the following year to have one of the best seasons in recent history.
So let's hope this 2009-reminiscent team we've got right now can give the Dodgers a hard time once more. Former Padre Aaron Harang, who actually happens to be from San Diego, will toe the rubber for Los Angeles and try to get his first win in over a month. Harang's last win was on August 18th. He has gone 0-3 and has failed to make it through the sixth inning in each of his five starts, all Dodgers losses. His last time out he only lasted 4 1/3 innings, giving up two runs on seven hits in the first game of a doubleheader last Wednesday. Harang last pitched against our Padres on September 5th, allowing three runs on five hits but not factoring into the decision. He is 4-5 all-time against San Diego, but 1-5 over his last ten starts against us.
Clayton Richard has been as good as Harang has been bad over this past month. Richard is 5-0 in his last six starts, all Padres wins. His only no-decision came in that same game on September 5th when he pitched opposite Harang at Dodger Stadium. Richard lasted only slightly longer than Harang, going 4 2/3 innings and giving up three runs on ten hits. He also had some trouble in his most recent start, surrendering four runs on eight hits in six innings of work against the Diamondbacks last Thursday. But our Padres came through with the run support to help Richard to his 14th win of the season. Richard has a 6-2 career record against L.A., including a 4-0 record against them at Petco Park, so he should feel pretty confident going into tonight's matchup.
After going 2-8 over the first ten games against the Dodgers this season, our boys have come back and won five of their last six and their last three straight against them. It is no surprise that Chase Headley has been one of the biggest hurdles for L.A. Even early in the season, he was giving them trouble. He has hit safely in each of his last 13 games against L.A., batting .373 with six home runs and 18 RBI. His two-hit night last night brought his season total to a career-high 163 hits. He has had success against Harang in particular, hitting .333 with a home run, three RBI, and four walks in 19 career plate appearances against the righty.
While Headley has given Harang some problems, Matt Kemp and Hanley Ramirez have done the same for Richard. Kemp has a career .345 average against Richard, including two home runs and three doubles. However, Kemp is currently on a mini slump in which he has gone 0-for-12. Ramirez is 7-for-8 with a double and a walk in his career against Richard. Conversely, Andre Ethier has always struggled against Richard. In 31 career plate apearances, Ethier is batting just .143 with just one extra-base hit against the southpaw.