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Game 9 Preview: Padres vs. Dodgers

Jason Marquis and Zack Greinke face off in tonight's rubber game against Los Angeles.

Donald Miralle

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Los Angeles Dodgers
@ San Diego Padres

Thursday, Apr 11, 2013, 7:10 PM PDT
Petco Park

Partly cloudy. Winds blowing out to right field at 5-10 m.p.h. Game time temperature around 60.

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Tonight our Padres will go for their first series win of the season against the Dodgers. After a blowout win in the series opener and last night's near-comeback, a victory tonight does not seem so daunting a task for this team.

Jason Marquis will start the game for the Padres in tonight's series finale. He hit some bad luck in his first outing of the season when three unearned runs cost him a possible win in Colorado. Otherwise his season debut was pretty solid. He allowed only two additional earned runs through his six innings of work against the Rockies. Marquis has had success against the Dodgers in the past. In 14 career starts against them, he is 6-4 with a 2.58 ERA through 90 2/3 total innings.

But L.A. is touting a highly-paid lineup that has given our starting pitching some trouble. Carl Crawford has been a menace at the plate, hitting .464 so far this season and boasting a 1.245 OPS. Last night he hit a homer and a triple to help the Dodgers to a win. Andre Ethier has a 10-game hitting streak going, dating back to 2012, and will try to continue that tonight. However, he has struggled against Marquis in the past. In 25 at-bats against the righty, he has only hit three singles. Matt Kemp has also had trouble against Marquis, batting a career 2-for-17 against him. Despite collecting two hits last night and having a career .337 average at Petco Park, Kemp's had a slow start this season so hopefully Marquis can continue to give him trouble.

The Padres offense will need to continue what it has been doing these past two games and get some runs on the board. A far cry from the team who sputtered out a single win in their season-opening road trip, Padres hitters have come alive at home in Petco Park. Chris Denorfia is riding a six-game hitting streak, over which he is batting 8-for-18. Nick Hundley was on fire last night, going 4-for-4 against Dodgers pitching. Most of the lineup seems to be contributing to the success of the team and, when faced with a possible loss, has continued to fight for runs. They'll need to keep that going tonight against Dodgers starter Zack Greinke.

Greinke will be making his Petco Park debut and hopes for another successful outing in Dodgers blue. In his L.A. debut last week, he tossed 6 1/3 innings of scoreless two-hit ball while collecting six strikeouts against the Pirates. This will be just his second time facing the Padres in his career. In May of 2011, he earned the win over San Diego after allowing just two runs in six innings of work as a Milwaukee Brewer. Most of our lineup will be facing him for the first time, so he will be pitching in largely unfamiliar territory tonight. But the Dodgers will be counting on him to go deep in tonight's game and keep the ball out of the hands of their relief pitchers as much as possible.

Dodgers relievers have surrendered a combined eight runs to the Padres so far this series. Last night, they were a hit away from giving the Padres a walk-off win. If the Padres can get through Greinke and into L.A.'s bullpen, the Friar Faithful should feel really good about our chances.