After dropping the series in San Francisco, the Padres return home to try to get back in the win column and refrain from dropping back below .500. Tonight, the Dodgers return to Petco Park for the first time since April and the benches-clearing brawl. Since that incident, San Diego have won four of six against L.A. to bring their season record against the Dodgers to 5-4.
In the series opener, the Padres will turn to Jason Marquis, who leads the team at 9-2 on the season and will go for his ninth straight win tonight. He would be the first Padre to notch wins in nine consecutive decisions since Kevin Brown in that fated 1998 season, when he won 11 straight. He has already matched the franchise record set by Jake Peavy with six straight wins at Petco Park. During his undefeated stretch, spanning ten games in which he's gone 8-0 and the Padres have gone 9-1, Marquis has posted a 3.25 ERA and kept opposing batters to a .231 average. He's had some trouble with walks, issuing 47 on the season (more than anyone on the Padres staff) and having given up at least four bases on balls in eight of his last ten games, but he's also struck out 38 batters in that span.
Marquis is 8-4 all-time against L.A. and 3-0 in his last four starts against them. He most recently faced them at Dodger Stadium on June 5th, giving up two runs on three hits and two walks in 6 1/3 innings en route to a 6-2 victory. He also had one of his best starts of the season when he defeated them on April 16th, allowing just one run on three hits and a walk while striking out five in 7 2/3 innings of a 9-2 Padres win.
The Padres offense will be looking forward to their return home, where they have won six straight and eight of their last nine games while averaging over four runs per game in that span. Carlos Quentin, who was the center of the benches-clearing brawl in April, could miss his sixth straight game with a shoulder injury. With the most recent losses of Quentin and Cabrera in the lineup, the Padres have been making it work with players like Logan Forsythe and Pedro Ciriaco stepping up to the plate. But Ciriaco and Alexi Amarista haven't been able to make up for Cabrera's defense on the field, making his absence all the more painful.
The Dodgers will try to take advantage of the Padres' injury woes during this series. Tonight they'll give the ball to rookie Stephen Fife. The right-hander started five games in 2012 and will be making his fourth start of the season tonight. He pitched against San Diego earlier this month when he was recalled to make a spot start for the injured Chris Capuano. He limited the Friars to just one run in 5 1/3 innings of work to earn his first major league victory. After breaking camp this Spring as the Dodgers' ninth starter, Fife has gone 1-2 with a 3.74 ERA in his first four starts this year. Though winless in his last two, he pitched well, giving up a combined four runs in 11 2/3 innings while posting a 3.09 ERA.
The Dodgers, who sit in dead last and five games behind the fourth place Padres in the NL West, are coming off a rough series in New York. Their series opener on Tuesday was postponed, forcing a doubleheader yesterday, which the teams split. L.A. will have to battle fatigue after having to fly cross-country last night following their doubleheader. But they'll also try to keep their momentum going after their 6-0 victory in their second game of the two-game series. Standout rookie Yasiel Puig hit his fifth home run of the season to help the Dodgers cruise past the Yankees in game 2 last night. He went 5-for-8 with two homers and five RBI against Padres pitching the last time the two teams met and in 15 games since his call-up, he is batting .474 with no signs of slowing down. He'll get his first taste of Petco Park tonight in the series opener as the Dodgers try to extend the Padres' losing streak to three.