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Friars head to Dodger Stadium looking to play themselves back into the wild card conversation

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Team still just 6.5 out after 8-16 July

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at San Diego Padres Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The Padres head to Dodger stadium to start a 4 game after a disappointing series split versus the Baltimore Orioles. The big news of the trade deadline, of course, was the trade of fan and clubhouse favorite Franmil Reyes. He was shipped with Logan Allen to Cleveland in a 3 team trade that brought back Taylor Trammell. A quieter (and potentially larger) addition was Carl Edwards Jr. He’s had a down year, but won a World Series with the Cubs and was a key piece of their bullpen. Prior to this year, he was an elite reliever. It’s possible AJ Preller pulled off a patented AJ Preller move.

The Dodgers didn’t make any big splashes at the deadline. They did, however, acquire former Padre Jedd Gyorko. Gyorko isn’t quite healthy yet, but he’s a Padre killer when he is. It seems as though former players always come back to haunt us. (Cough Steve Finley) In 18 games he has 9 HR 18 RBI and a .410 BA. As a team they really don’t do anything poorly.

Pitching matchups:

Clayton Kershaw (9-2 2.85 ERA) vs. Joey Lucchesi (7-5 4.12 ERA)

Dustin May (Debut) vs. Eric Lauer (5-8 4.52 ERA)

TBD vs. TBD

Chris Paddack (7-5 2.78 ERA) vs. TBD

Hitters to watch:

Fernando Tatis Jr. 11/31 3 HR 5 RBI .355 BA .375 OBP last 7 games

Manny Machado 12/28 1 HR 1 RBI .429 BA .484 OBP last 7 games

Justin Turner 6/24 3 HR 6 RBI .250 BA last 7 games

Cody Bellinger 6/24 0 HR 3 RBI .250 BA last 7 games

What to expect:

The Dodgers are 71-39 and clearly the best team in the National League. They also have the best record in all of baseball. Prior to the all star break the Padres took 3 of 4 from them at Dodger Stadium. Every game they’ve played has been competitive, even in losses. In fact, the Friars bullpen collapses cost them a few a wins. With an improved bullpen and no trade deadline distractions, it could very well be a competitive series.

Don’t count these boys out just yet. If they can string together a few series wins, they’ll play themselves right back into a crowded wild card race. They come in just 6.5 games out. No team has effectively separated themselves from the pack either.

This has the potential to be a season defining moment for the team. Can they go into Dodger stadium and win at least 3 games? Or, will they continue to slip in the standings like they did through their horrid July?

We’ll see.