Wednesday, May 31, 2023
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MLB Preview: Los Angeles Dodgers (19-13) at San Diego Padres (17-15)


STREAKING INTO SAN DIEGO: The Dodgers won their season high sixth consecutive game Wednesday afternoon in walk-off fashion, 10-6, completing a three-game sweep of the Phillies and rounding out a perfect 6-0 homestand. Max Muncy’s walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the ninth gave the Dodgers their second walkoff of the season after the club was down 5-0 early in the game. Gavin Stone’s Major League debut (4.0 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 4 ER, K) had the club in an early hole, but the offensive kept tacking on and the bullpen was stellar until the ninth frame (5.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 6 K). Muncy’s grand slam was the finishing blow, but the Dodgers had stellar contributions up and down the lineup, including two more hits from David Peralta, a homer from Miguel Vargas and a key two-run pinch-hit single off the bat of Austin Barnes. The Dodgers have won 10 of their last 13 contests and hit the road this evening at 6:40 p.m. with the first of three vs. the Padres at Petco Park. Following the weekend series, which includes being featured on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball, the Boys in Blue will head to Milwaukee and begin a three-game set with the Brewers at American Family Field Monday night. Los Angeles is in first place in the National League West, 1.5 games ahead of the Diamondbacks. The lead matches a season high. The Dodgers last seven-game winning streak was from July 31-Aug. 13, 2022, when the club ripped off 12-in-a-row. The Dodgers went 4-for-12 with runners in scoring position Wednesday afternoon and hit .463 (19- for-41) with men in scoring position in the three-game series vs. Philadelphia. Los Angeles is now batting .275 with RISP on the season, which ranks fourth in the National League.

THE NEXT CHAPTER: The Dodgers clobbered the Padres in the regular season last year, going 14-5, including a 5-3 mark at Petco Park. Over the last two seasons, Los Angeles is 26-12 (.684) vs. San Diego during the regular season. Since 2017, the Boys in Blue are 72-33 against the Padres with a 34-18 (.654) record away from home. Despite the recent regular season domination, the Padres beat the Dodgers in the NLDS last season. 3-1. The Dodgers are 7-6 in 2023 and 61-28 (.685) against the National League West dating back to last season. The Dodgers have posted nine straight winning seasons against the National League West division, including four 50+ win seasons against their NL West foes (2014, 2019, 2021-22). Since 2014, the Dodgers are 414-248 (.625) against the NL West.

MAX IN OVERDRIVE: Dodger third baseman Max Muncy ripped the Dodgers first walk-off grand slam since Andre Ethier did so nearly 13 years to the day on May 6, 2010 vs. Milwaukee. Muncy leads the Major Leagues with 12 home runs and a .641 slugging percentage while ranking among the big league leaders in RBI (27, T-5th), walks (24, T-2nd) and OPS (1.040, 3rd). Muncy has 16-career home runs vs. the Padres, including six at Petco Park.

CY GUY: Three-time NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw takes the mound this evening riding a Dodger season-high four-game winning streak as he looks to become the second big leaguer to reach six wins on the season, joining Shane McClanahan. Kershaw is just eight wins away from passing Don Drysdale (209) for second on the Dodgers all-time wins list and would only trail Don Sutton (233) for first all-time. The newly minted National League Pitcher of the Month is closing in on Jim Bunning for 21st on the all-time Major League strikeout list as he has 2,848, eight shy of passing Bunning. Kershaw has allowed just one run in his last three starts (20.0 IP). The NL Pitcher of the Month Award for Kershaw is his first since May 2016 and he also won in July 2011, July 2013, June and July of 2014, and July 2015. He’s the sixth pitcher ever to win at least seven times, joining Roger Clemens (15), Greg Maddux (10), Randy Johnson (8), Pedro Martínez (8) and Johan Santana (8).

THE ROOK: The reigning Rookie of the Month James Outman went 2-for-4 with two doubles and two runs scored on Wednesday and leads all rookies in runs scored (22), triples (3), extra-base hits (16), total bases (64) and OPS (.980). Outman ranks third with 21 RBI and a .290 batting average. He ranks second with a .382 OBP.

THE OTHER ONE: Dodger rookie infielder Miguel Vargas went 1-for-4 with two runs scored, two RBI and his second homer of the year on Wednesday. Vargas has recorded an RBI in four consecutive contests, which matches a Dodger season high (also J.D. Martinez April 6-9).

THE WANDERER: Prior to the game, the Dodgers optioned right-handed pitcher Gavin Stone and selected the contract of right-handed reliever Wander Suero. Suero, 31, appeared in 10 games for Triple-A Oklahoma City, going 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA (2 ER/10.2 IP) and eight strikeouts. He was 5-for-5 in save opportunities, while limiting hitters to a .139 (5-for-36) average, including a .000 average against left-handed hitters (0-for-14, 2 BB, 3 K). This will be his first stint with the Dodgers and has been in the Major Leagues parts of four seasons with Washington (2018-2021) and he is combined 14-13 with a 4.61 ERA (95 ER/185.1 IP) and 200 strikeouts in 185 Major League games. He was originally signed by the Washington Nationals as an amateur free agent out of Sabana Larga, Dominican Republic on February 2, 2010.

LONG BALLS: The Dodgers ripped two more homers on Wednesday, a two-run blast by Miguel Vargas and the walk-off job by Max Muncy in the ninth. The club boasts an NL-best 54 home runs, which is tied with the Atlanta Braves, Tampa Bay leads the Majors with a whopping 67 long balls. The Dodgers have recorded 3+ homers in 10 games this season, which ranks second in baseball, trailing only the Rays (12). The Dodgers are second in the League with 25 games with at least one homer, behind the Rays (29), who have homered in all but three games this season.

• Notched his 200th career win in his start on April 18 against the Mets, making him the only Los Angeles Dodger to win 200 games with the same franchise…joins Don Sutton (233) and Don Drysdale (209) on the Dodger all-time list…

• Moved into 22nd all-time on the Major League strikeout list with 2,824, surpassing Mickey Lolich in his start on April 18…he needs 151 more to become the 20th player in Major League history with 3,000 strikeouts

• Has fired 6.0+ innings in all six starts this season

• He was named the National League Pitcher of the Month on Wednesday after posting a 5-1 record with a 1.89 ERA (8 ER/38.0 IP) and 41

• Kershaw enters the month of May with 2,848 career strikeouts, just eight shy of passing Hall of Famer Jim Bunning for 21st on the all-time strikeout list.

• Went 1-0 with a 0.75 ERA in two starts against the Padres last season…


Let’s reminisce, shall we: Padres to host Dodgers for the 1st time since Game 4 of the 2022 National League Division Series

• San Diego’s last time seeing the Dodgers was on October 15, 2022, when the Padres toppled Los Angeles in 4 games in the NLDS, mounting a 5-run, 7th-inning comeback in the final game…the 5-3 win sent the Padres to the NL Championship Series against the Phillies, and in the game,
starter Joe Musgrove went 6.0 innings of 2-run, 6-hit ball, punching out 8 with 3 walks….Petco Park welcomed 45,139 in attendance in Game 4, which was at the time the largest crowd Petco has ever seen in a Postseason game.

• Before the Padres’ upset of the Dodgers, there was just 1 other instance in baseball history in which a team won a Postseason series against their opponent that finished with 22+ more wins than them: the White Sox vs. Cubs in the 1906 World Series (CHC had 23 more wins)…SD went 5-14 in the regular season vs. LAD and ended in 2nd place in the NL West, trailing the Dodgers by 22.0 G…the Dodgers’ 22.0 G lead marked the largest gap ever between the top 2 teams in the NL West, besting the Dodgers’ 21.0 game lead over the 2nd place D-Backs in 2019. Soto needs 3 more walks for the most in MLB history before turning 25

• Juan Soto is 24 years and 192 days old today with 539 career walks…he needs 3 more BB to set a record for the most walks by any player in MLB history before turning 25 (Sportstrader)…trails just Mel Ott’s 541 BB, and Soto already has more before turning 25 than Mickey Mantle (522) & Ted Williams (493).

• Soto’s 124 career multi-walk games (and his 34th 3-walk games) are both already the most by any player before turning 25…Juan has an MLB-leading 31 walks so far this year (next most are Max Muncy’s and Adley Rutschman’s 24).

• Soto enters today riding a 6-game hit streak, going 9-for-20 (.450) with 4 doubles, a homer, 8 RBI, and 9 BB…the streak follows his 1st 26 games to start the season in which he hit just .178 (16-for-90). Dodgers have won four straight regular season road series against the Padres

• The last time the Padres won a regular season home series against the Dodgers at Petco Park was when they swept them in 3 games from June 21-23, 2021…since then, the Padres have won just 3 of their 12 games against Los Angeles at Petco Park, losing all 3 series. Padres’ .356 on-base percentage with 2 outs leads MLB

• San Diego’s offense has a .356 OBP with 2 outs this year, a mark that leads all of baseball…but when hitting with less than 2 outs, they have a .303 OBP, the 4th-lowest mark in MLB.

Last series: Padres win 2 of 3 against Reds

• The Padres won their 1st series at Petco Park this year after taking 2 of 3 from the Reds…the Friars have now won 4 of their last 5 games and 5 of their last 7.

• The Padres had an off day yesterday…and after playing 18 straight games in 18 days from April 6-23, the Padres are enjoying 4 off days in a 15-day span from April 24-May 8…yesterday was the 3rd off day in that stretch, and their next one will be on Monday May 8 (in Minnesota)…yesterday was the Padres’ 1st off day in San Diego this year, with their prior 3 coming on the road.

Low swinging percentage: Dodgers and Padres

• The Dodgers have swung at 43.4% of the pitches they’ve seen, the lowest swinging percentage in MLB this year…the Padres, similarly, have a 45.0 swinging percentage, ranked as the 4th lowest in MLB.

Davish aims for 3rd straigh win vs. LAD 36-year-old right-hander Yu Darvish is set for his 12th career start tonight vs. LAD (including the Postseason), and he is in serach of his 3rd straight winning decision vs. the Dodgers…. Darvish posted 7 quality outings in his 11 career starts vs. the Dodgers, which have all come since 2019…among all active pitchers who have made at least 10 career starts vs. LAD, his .181 opp. AVG ranks 1st, his 0.94 WHIP ranks 2nd and his 2.69 ERA ranks 6th. Darvish is limiting Mookie Betts to a .192 career clip (5-for-26) with 1 HR, while Max Muncy is a career .200 hitter (5-for-25) with 11 SO…on the flip side, David Peralta is 10-for-24 (.417) vs. Darvish and Freddie Freeman is 7-for-22 (.318).

Darvish’s last time out
Darvish entered his Sun start in Mexico City as is 1 of 6 ML starters and 1 of 3 in the NL with 0 HR allowed across at least 4 starts…at Estadio Alfredo Harp Helú’s 7,349 feet of elevation, Darvish surrendered 3 HR as apart of his 9 hits allowed across his 6.0 IP in SD’s eventual 6-4 victory…after losing each of his first 3 starts, SD has won both of his last 2.

Breaking bad
Since last season, Yu Darvish has thrown the 2nd-most breaking balls (1,853) in the Majors, trailing only CWS Dylan Cease’s 2,181 …he has the 4th-highest spin rate (2,756 rpm) on breaking balls among all NL pitchers (min. 750 pitches) since the start of ’22…rotation mate Joe Musgrove (2,720) has the 6th-highest spin rate on breaking balls among NL starters.

Stingy against the righties
So far this season, Darvish has limited righties to a .143 clip (6-for-42), T-4th lowest AVG against RHH in the Majors and 2nd lowest in the NL (min. 40 righties faced) behind only SD closer Josh Hader (.105)…lefties are hitting .286 (18-for-63) against Darvish.

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