For just the second time since leaving San Diego, Adrian Gonzalez and his new team will take on his former team. This time he will be sporting a Dodgers uniform. He is now an even bigger enemy than he was in a Red Sox uniform. And our Padres have the opportunity to further ruin his, and his team's, playoff hopes.
Gonzalez is coming off a game in which he hit the walk-off double to secure the win for the Dodgers. But prior to that, he hadn't found much success as part of the L.A. lineup. In his first eight games as a Dodger, he has hit just .182 with a home run and six RBI.
The Dodgers have managed to stay within 4 1/2 games of the first-place Giants after winning their final two games against the Diamondbacks. Tonight they will send Joe Blanton to the hill to try to kick off the series with a victory. Over his first four starts as a Dodger, Blanton went 0-3 with a 7.71 ERA. But his offense helped him to a win in his last start, when he allowed three runs in 7 1/3 innings of work against the Rockies. Blanton is 2-2 in his career against our Padres. He pitched against us earlier this season as a member of the Phillies rotation, giving up six total runs (three earned) in six innings for a loss.
Despite losing their rubber match against the Rockies yesterday, our boys are coming off probably their best offensive performance of the season. Altogether, our offense got 20 hits off Colorado pitching. Alexi Amarista had a career-best 5-for-5 day with two RBI, but it was Chase Headley who shined the brightest as he collected four hits and six RBI. Headley has hit 3-for-6 all-time against Blanton and hopes to keep riding a hot bat in this series against L.A. Also Cameron Maybin, who went 3-for-5 yesterday, has eight hits in 19 career at-bats against Blanton.
Our offense will need to provide more support for starter Andrew Werner than they did in his last start. Werner has pitched well since being called up to join the Padres rotation and making his major league debut on August 22nd. He gave up two runs on four hits in six innings in each of his two starts, but has a 1-1 record. His last time out resulted in a loss as Padres hitters failed to put any runs on the board.
Hopefully L.A.'s lack of familiarity with Werner will prove to be in his favor. But he will be facing some hitters who have thrived off Padres pitching this season. The Dodgers have won eight of the 12 contests between us this year. Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp in particular have found success against our pitchers. Ethier is hitting .311 with three home runs and 20 RBI while Kemp is batting .528 with six home runs and 15 RBI against San Diego this season. However, despite all the big names in their lineup, the Dodgers haven't had as much success as they'd like lately. Before their two wins against Arizona over the weekend, they went on a 3-8 skid that allowed the Giants to extend their lead in the division. They will try to get back on track and make up some ground in this series.