The Padres took the first game of the series last night behind an impressive performance from rookie Robbie Erlin. Tonight another rookie will get a chance to impress as Burch Smith takes the mound and tries to secure a series win against the Dodgers in Game 2.
Smith is seeking his first career win tonight in his fourth start at Petco Park. Over his previous three at home, he is 0-1 with 11 runs allowed and 8 walks issued through 11 1/3 innings. But the right-hander is coming off a fantastic start on the road, the best outing of his young career. He kept the NL-East leading Braves to just three hits in seven scoreless innings, flirting with a no-hitter through five and striking out ten batters along the way.
Opposing Smith will be Actual Cy-Young Award hopeful, Clayton Kershaw. With two starts left for Kershaw before the playoffs, he will try to put an exclamation point on his season by continuing his solid pitching. But the Padres have not been kind to the southpaw in 2013. He has lost all three of his starts against San Diego this year while posting a 4.67 ERA. One of those was a six-inning appearance at Petco Park in which he gave up four runs on seven hits and a walk.
With the Padres now having won 12 of their last 17 games, they'll continue to try to close out their season on a high note. See if they can lock down the series against the NL West champions at 7:10 tonight.