After dropping back-to-back series against division rivals, our Padres look to get back on track today as they face another NL West foe. They begin a four-game set against the Dodgers in L.A. this evening and righty Odrisamer Despaigne will kick things off opposite Clayton Kershaw.
Since being called up to make his major league debut on June 23rd, Despaigne has been an impressive addition to the San Diego pitching staff. In three appearances, he is 2-0 with a 0.92 ERA - a historic beginning for the Cuban defector, being the first pitcher in franchise history to throw at least six innings and allow no more than a run in each of his first three ML starts. Despaigne's struggled a bit with the walks, issuing four in each of his last two outings, but has otherwise been effective on the mound. Tonight he's tasked with keeping the first-place Dodgers at bay.
But those Dodgers will counter with their ace Kershaw, who's having one of the best seasons in his already successful career. He's already thrown a no-hitter this year and he's coming into tonight's matchup riding a 36-inning scoreless streak and 7-game winning streak. Over that seven-game stretch he's posted a 0.69 ERA through 52 innings while allowing only 28 hits and five walks and collecting 69 strikeouts. Kershaw faced our Friars four times last season, going 0-3 in his first three starts before pitching a seven-inning three-hit shutout in his most recent appearance against them.
Tonight will be Kershaw's last start before the All-Star Break, where he's likely to make the start for the National League in the All-Star Game. Tune in at 7:10 PT tonight to see if Despaigne can continue the hot start to his major league career and if our Padres can give him some run support and bring Kershaw back down to Earth.
And don't forget to check out today's SB Nation Fantasy Baseball league on FanDuel. It's $2 to join and first prize is $2,000. There's also an MLB Squeeze (Late Night) league with a first prize of $1,200 if you miss the first one. You can join at this link.