Finally, baseball is back in San Diego. The Padres open up their first homestand of 2013 with a series against the division rival Dodgers. And we're all hoping that some time at home will help the team get back on the right track.
For today's opener, Clayton Richard will get the ball and try to give fans something to cheer for. He was unsuccessful in his first start this season when he gave up eight runs (seven earned) on seven hits (including three homers) in just 4 1/3 innings against the Mets. Despite a less pitcher-friendly Petco Park, Richard hopes to put that first start behind him and take advantage of the home field today, as well as his history against the Dodgers. He is 6-3 all-time against L.A. with a 3.16 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 74 total innings. One of the keys today will be keeping the ball inside the park. Last year, Richard led the league in home runs allowed. He allowed 31 homers, ten of which came in his 14 games at Petco Park.
The Dodgers will send Josh Beckett to the mound to also try and redeem himself after an unimpressive performance in his season opener. He threw six innings against the Giants and surrendered five runs, although only three of them were earned. Beckett has pitched well against San Diego in the past. He has a career 5-2 record and 2.09 ERA, as well as 47 K's in 47 1/3 innings pitched against the Padres.
With that said, it will be incredibly important for our offense to step it up. They had a terribly showing over their road trip in New York and Colorado, so the newly renovated Petco Park will be a huge factor in getting some of those wins back. Putting the new dimensions to their advantage will be key in the Padres' success today, this season, and in years to come.