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Padres series preview: 5/5 - 5/7 vs. Dodgers

The Padres seek revenge after losing three of four in Los Angeles to open the season.

Travis Peterson

After dropping two of three games to the Rockies, the fourth-place Padres continue their eight-game homestand with a weekend set against the third-place Dodgers. This is the second series this season between the neighboring teams; Los Angeles took three out of four at home to open the year.

The Dodgers feature a trio of former Friars on their 40-man roster, but only two are active at this time. Logan Forsythe was expected to return from the disabled list today, but his rehab stint has been extended after he left Wednesday’s game with hamstring tightness. First baseman Adrian Gonzalez has struggled through the first month of the season, but historically has good numbers against his hometown team. In 326 at-bats against the Padres, Gonzalez has 19 doubles and 17 home runs, and has walked 33 times. His .310/ .368/ .525 line against San Diego pitching is better than his overall marks of .289/ .361/ .490. Yasmani Grandal has also hit better than usual versus his old team, slashing .253/ .355/ .568 with three doubles and nine homers in 95 at-bats.

Few current Padres have had much offensive success against the Dodgers. Wil Myers performed extremely well in this year’s opening series, which was a jarring contrast to his past numbers versus L.A. Only Hunter Renfroe has dominated the Dodgers whenever he sees them, while Erick Aybar and Yangervis Solarte have hit adequately in large sample sizes. Three Padres position players are still looking for their first base hit against Los Angeles: two of this year's Rule 5 picks, and one of last year's.

Player 2017 Career
Erick Aybar .300/ .462/ .500 (3/10, 2 2B, 3 BB) .254/ .288/ .368 (51/201, 13 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 9 BB)
Jabari Blash ---/ ---/ --- .000/ .333/ .000 (0/4, 2 BB)
Allen Cordoba .000/ .000/ .000 (0/2) .000/ .000/ .000 (0/2)
Austin Hedges .000/ .100/ .000 (0/9, BB) .100/ .129/ .200 (3/30, HR, BB)
Manuel Margot .200/ .250/ .267 (3/15, 2B, BB) .280/ .308/ .400 (7/25, 3 2B, BB)
Wil Myers .313/ .313/ .563 (5/16, 2B, HR) .199/ .252/ .272 (30/151, 3 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 9 BB)
Hunter Renfroe .313/ .313/ .563 (5/16, 2B, HR) .345/ .345/ .793 (10/29, 2B, 4 HR)
Hector Sanchez .000/ .000/ .000 (0/5) .216/ .244/ .257 (16/74, 3 2B)
Luis Sardinas .000/ .000/ .000 (0/1) .294/ .333/ .412 (5/17, 2 2B, BB)
Ryan Schimpf .200/ .188/ .400 (3/15, HR, SF) .118/ .205/ .235 (4/34, 2B, HR, 4 BB)
Yangervis Solarte .267/ .313/ .533 (4/15, 2B, HR, BB) .262/ .332/ .433 (43/164, 13 2B, 5 HR, 17 BB)
Cory Spangenberg ---/ ---/ --- .210/ .234/ .242 (13/62, 2 2B, 2 BB)
Luis Torrens .000/ .000/ .000 (0/2) .000/ .000/ .000 (0/2)

On the pitching side of things, all six expected starters have faced the opposition once this year, with mixed results. The most impressive performance of the bunch belongs to a left-handed starter named Clayton... and Kershaw didn’t fare so badly himself.

Game 1

MLB: San Francisco Giants at San Diego Padres Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Jhoulys Chacin vs Kenta Maeda

Friday, May 5; 7:10 pm

Jhoulys Chacin got absolutely decimated when he faced the Dodgers on Opening Day. He gave up the first nine runs (all earned) of the 14-3 loss on eight hits, two of which were sent to the stands, in just 3.1 innings. Chacin struck out a pair of Dodgers, but walked just as many. He has been better since then, which isn’t saying much. On the season Chacin is 3-3 with a 5.82 ERA, 27 strikeouts, and a dozen walks in 34 innings across six starts. His last time out he spotted the Giants three runs on six hits and two walks over five innings, striking out six.

Kenta Maeda took the loss in the lone game the Dodgers have dropped to the Padres this season. San Diego collected six hits and two walks in the process of tacking three earned runs on Maeda in his five innings on the hill. He has continued to struggle, entering Saturday’s game with a 6.58 ERA, although he has struck out 27 batters and walked just six in 26 innings. He got positive results in his most recent start, notching his second win and his team’s third in his five starts; he struck out eight Phillies in seven innings while allowing two earned runs.

Game 2

MLB: San Diego Padres at San Francisco Giants John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

Clayton Richard vs Brandon McCarthy

Saturday, May 6; 5:40 pm

The Padres looked like a completely different team on the second day of the season than they did on the first, and Clayton Richard had a huge hand in that. He pitched the first eight innings of San Diego’s 4-0 shutout victory, allowing just five singles and two free passes. He recorded the first five of the 23 strikeouts he has in 35.2 innings over six games. Richard also has issued 11 walks and is sitting on an ERA of 4.29. It was higher before his recent no-decision in San Francisco in which he struck out three Giants in the process of giving up two earned runs on six hits and a walk in 5.1 frames.

In his first game against the Padres, Brandon McCarthy pitched a very Brandon McCarthy-ish game, walking away with the win after going six innings and permitting two earnies on four hits and a walk. His 3.00 ERA in that game is in line with his season mark of 3.10, put up over five starts, during which he has struck out 25 batters and walked nine over 29 innings. One encouraging thing for San Diego is that he’s coming off his worst start of the young season; he allowed four runs on eight hits and a walk, taking a no-decision for his five innings of work against Philadelphia.

Game 3

MLB: Miami Marlins at San Diego Padres Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Trevor Cahill vs Clayton Kershaw

Sunday, May 7; 1:40 pm

Trevor Cahill took the hard-luck loss in his first start against the Dodgers this season, which was also his first start for his hometown team. He lasted 5.2 innings, allowing a pair of earned runs on five hits and three walks. He has emerged as the pleasant surprise of this year’s staff; the 12-18 Padres are 3-2 in his five starts, and he has a 2-2 record to go along with his 3.60 ERA. In his 30 innings he has struck out 37 batters and walked 11. If anyone in San Diego’s rotation is equipped to give the club a fighting chance against Clayton Kershaw, it’s Cahill, who was absolutely stellar in his last trip to the K-hill. He struck out seven Rockies and walked nary a one, allowing just three hits and no runs in his six innings.

Kershaw was Kershaw the last time he faced the Padres, which of course meant bad news for the Padres. Eight strikeouts, no walks, and two hits in seven innings? Yep, sounds about right. His lone real mistake was placed in the stands by Ryan Schimpf. The rest of Kershaw’s season to date has been more of the same, give or take, although his season ERA is up to a nearly human 2.61 after his most recent start, in which he allowed three earned runs in six innings against the rival Giants. It’s kind of absurd that a quality start with five strikeouts and no walks is considered subpar for someone, but that reflects the ridiculously high bar he has set. In 41.1 innings this season, he has struck out 44 batters and walked just three; it’s like a crazed scientist got the idea to fuse Randy Johnson and Bob Tewksbury.

More details about each game, including starting lineups, will be included in our individual game previews and game threads on the day of each.

The cover art for this and all series previews was provided by Travis Peterson, proprietor of Punk Rock Paint. You can find him on Twitter or check out his website to see more of his work.