Saturday, June 22, 2024
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MLB Preview: San Diego Padres (19-19) at Los Angeles Dodgers (23-15)

SAN DIEGO PADRES NOTES:

Friars fall 5-3 to Twins, drop 2nd straight series

  • Despite a leadoff home run from Fernando Tatis Jr. yesterday, the Friars s could not hold on to their 3 leads against the Twins, falling 5-3 in the rubber game…starter Yu Darvish went 6.0 innings and allowed 2 runs on 4 hits with 7 punchouts…Tatis and Juan Soto had 2 hits apiece, but the Padres went 1-for-7 with RISP.

Snell looks for strikes

  • So far this year, Blake Snell has a 56.3 strike percentage, which among all pitchers who have logged at least 35.0 innings, ranks lowest in baseball (MLB average is 63.8%).
  • Blake enters his start tonight having had quality starts in his last 2 outings (threw 6.0 IP with 3 ER on May 1 vs. CIN and 6.0 IP with 2 ER on May 6 vs. LAD)…Snell had 3 streaks last year of tossing back-to-back quality starts, but he’s only had 1 stretch of 3-straight QS as a Padre (August 25-Sept. 7, 2021).

Wasted Quality

  • Yu Darvish’s quality outing yesterday was the Padres’ 16th QS this year, and they’ve now gone 8-8 in those quality starts…San Diego has had a QS in 5 of their last 6 games, but they’ve only won 2 of those 5. Juan Soto: Before and after April 27th
  • In 26 games before April 27th, Juan Soto hit .178 to start the 2023 campaign, logging a .339 OBP and a .344 SLG…in his last 12 games, however, since April 27th, he’s hit .419 with a .561 OBP and a .744 SLG… he’s also hit .364 with RISP since April 27th after hitting .083 with RISP in this 1st 26 games.

Friar wins vs. Friar losses

  • In Padres’ wins this year, they’ve scored 6.4 runs per game (in losses they’ve scored 1.8 r/g)…in wins they’ve hit .279 with 30 HRs and a .868 OPS (in losses they’ve hit .179 with 13 homers and a .548 OPS)… in their wins this year, San Diego has hit .303 with RISP…in their losses, they’ve hit .073 with RISP.

Padres to face Dodgers for their 2nd series of ’23

  • San Diego lost 2 of the 3 games last weekend vs. the Dodgers in their 1st meeting since the 2022 NLDS… the series defeat marked the Padres’ 10th straight regular season series they’ve lost against the Dodgers (SD’s last series win was on June 21-23, 2021, and they’ve gone 6-25 vs. LAD since then)…in that time since August 24, 2021 against the Dodgers, the Padres have been held to 2.5 runs per game (LAD have scored 5.5 r/g), a .184 average (LAD have hit .230), hit 22 home runs (LAD hit 54 HRs), and Padres pitchers have a 5.13 ERA (LAD have a 2.00 ERA).

The Dodgers have also won the season series with the Padres every year from 2011 through last season…that 12-year series win streak is the longest by any team against a division opponent since divisions were created in 1969 (Sportstrader)…the Dodgers’ longest streak of its kind versus any NL opponent – regardless of division – is 13 seasons against the Pirates from 2001-13.

Attendance #s

  • In the 3 games vs. LAD last weekend, Petco Park saw a total 131,512 fans…the Padres have the 3rd highest home attendance total in MLB so far this year at 806,361, trailing just the Dodgers’ 863,682 and the Yankees’ 879,894.
  • Discounting the two “home games” vs. SF in Mexico City from April 29-30, the Padres have hosted a total of 767,117 fans so far at Petco in 19 G for an average of 40,375 fans per game…that average at Petco per game ranks 2nd in MLB (Dodgers have averaged a ML leading 47,982 fans per game in Chavez Ravine).

STARTING PITCHER – BLAKE SNELL 4
Welcome to Snel-LA
30-year-old left-hander Blake Snell is in search of his 2nd win of the season in his 2nd straight start vs. the Dodgers…last Saturday vs. LAD, he tossed 6.0 innings of 1-run, 2-hit ball, with the only damage coming in the 4th inning when he walked Will Smith and surrendered a 2-run HR to Chris Taylor…tonight will be his 14th career start vs. the Dodgers, and among all active pitchers who have made at least 10 career starts vs. LAD, his .175 opp. AVG vs. LAD hitters ranks 1st, and his 2.51 ERA ranks 2nd among all active pitchers, slightly behind only Jacob deGrom (2.50)… using the same qualifications, his 1.05 WHIP ranks 6th. Snell will be in search of his 3rd consecutive quality start tonight…had 3 streaks last year of tossing back-to-back quality starts, but he’s only had 1 stretch of 3-straight QS as a Padre (August 25-September 7, 2021).

Blake vs. Betts
Including Postseason action, Mookie Betts has 15 more at-bats (44) vs. Snell than the next closest Major League hitter (Francisco Lindor’s 29; .172 AVG)…Betts went 0-for-3 vs. Snell last Saturday, and is a career .227 hitter (10-for-44) vs. Snell with 3 XBH (2 2B, 1 HR).

Limit the free passes
After walking 3 in his most recent start last Saturday vs. LAD, Snell has issued 3+ walks in 5 of his 7 starts so far this year, including 4 such starts in a row from April 6-25…this season, he’s issued 21 BB to the 157 batters he’s faced across 35.0 IP…his 5.40 BB/9 IP is the 7thhighest ratio in MLB, while his .134 BB/BFP is 6th-highest (min. 7 starts). Two starts ago on Mon, May 1 vs. CIN, he got his first winning decision of the season after issuing 0 free passes for the 12th time in his career…he is now 10-0 with a 1.29 ERA when he has 0 walks…it was his first career start vs. the Reds, leaving his former team, the Tampa Bay Rays, as the only team he is yet to square off against.

Can’t spell Blake without the K
Snell enters tonight’s matchup with 39 SO across 29.0 IP, but his 2023 K% (24.8) and SO/9 IP ratio (10.03) are both down this season compared to 2022 (32.0 K% and 12.02 SO/9 IP)… entering today, he’s 1 of just 14 NL pitchers with a 10.00+ SO/9 IP ratio (min. 7 starts).

Call him ‘Swing and Miss Snell’
Snell has caused opponents to swing and miss 33.6% of the time, the 4th-highest swing and miss rate among all ML starters (min. 7 starts), trailing only Spencer Strider (38.1%), Shane McLanahan (36.9%) and Shohei Ohtani (35.1%). Among all ML pitchers who have made at least 55 starts since 2021, which was Snell’s first season with the Padres, his 32.4 whiff % is the 4th-highest, trailing only Corbin Burnes (35.4%), Shane McClanahan (33.8%) and Dylan Cease (33.2%).

Can’t stay ahead if you don’t get ahead
Snell is getting ahead in counts on the first pitch a little over half the time…his 51.6 firstpitch strike percentage is 3rd-lowest in the Majors (min. 7 starts)…overall, he has a 56.3 strike percentage, which among all pitchers who have logged at least 35.0 innings, ranks lowest in baseball (MLB average is 63.8%).

LOS ANGELES DODGERS NOTES:

THE MAIN EVENT: The Dodgers made easy work of the Brewers on Wednesday afternoon in Milwaukee, winning, 8-1 behind Clayton Kershaw and claiming a series victory over the Brew Crew in the rubber match while closing out a 4-2 road trip. Kershaw fired 7.0 innings and allowed just one blemish, a solo home run by William Contreras (7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 8 K). The left-hander is one of two pitchers in the NL with six wins (Justin Steele) and he is tied for third in the league with 56 strikeouts. This evening, Los Angeles will welcome in the rival Padres for the first time this season, just five days after taking two of three from the Friars in San Diego. Following the three-game game series, the Boys in Blue will host the American League Central-leading Minnesota Twins for three games next week (May 15-17). Los Angeles enters play tonight enjoying a season-high 3.0-game lead over the Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League West. The Dodgers have won nine of their last 11 games while winning four consecutive series. The Dodgers are tied with the Cubs for the second-best run differential in the National League (+48), trailing only the only the Atlanta Braves (+59).

POWER PLAYERS: The Dodgers ripped three more home runs on Wednesday, thanks to Freddie Freeman (6), Will Smith (6) and Miguel Vargas(4). Smith and Vargas have now homered in consecutive games and the Dodger catcher is hitting .500 (6-for-12) with two homers, two doubles, four RBI and two walks during his mini three-game hitting streak. Freeman had two hits and his 12 multi-hit games leads the Dodgers.

GOOD NEWS TRAIN: Prior to the game, the Dodgers reinstated J.D. Martinez from the 10-day injured list and returned left-handed reliever Caleb Ferguson from the paternity list. Martinez, who is hitting .250 with nine doubles, two triples and four homers in 23 games this season, missed the last 15 games with lower back tightness. Ferguson, who is in the midst of a 10.1 IP scoreless streak, has posted a 1.26 ERA (2 ER/14.1 IP) in 15 games this season. He and his wife, Carissa, welcomed a baby boy, Brooks, on Tuesday. Congrats Ferg! In order to make room for Martinez and Ferguson on the active roster, the Dodgers optioned infielder Michael Busch and right-handed reliever Wander Suero to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

PEN MEN: The Dodger bullpen fired 2.0 scoreless innings on Wednesday, thanks to Wander Suero (2.0 IP, 3 K). Since allowing a season high-matching eight runs on April 26 at PIT (also, April 21 at CHC), the Dodger bullpen has posted a 2.54 ERA (13 ER/46.0 IP) with 52 strikeouts against 19 walks. The bullpen is among the leaders in multiple categories since April 27, including ERA (3rd), batting average against (.160, 1st), opponents slugging percentage (.253, 1st) opponents OBP (.253, 1st) and opponents OPS (.506, 1st).

MLB TEAM ERA LEADERS – RELIEVERS (Since April 27)
Seattle Mariners 1.67
Chicago Cubs 2.28
Los Angeles Dodgers 2.54

BIG RED: Dodger right-hander Dustin May is seeking to extend his career high in wins, gunning for his fifth victory this evening and his fourth in-a-row. Last Saturday he beat the Padres in San Diego, to improve to 2-4 with a 3.44 ERA (20 ER/52.1 IP) and 49 strikeouts in 11 career games (eight starts) vs. San Diego. May’s 0.94 WHIP ranks fourth in the National League and his .164 opponents’ average (23-for-140) ranks second. The native of Texas boasts an opponents’ OPS of .489, which leads the NL and ranks second in the Major Leagues (Eduardo Rodriguez, .481).

TIME FOR SOME HOME ‘COOKIN: The Dodgers clobbered the Padres in the regular season last year, going 14- 5, including an 8-2 mark at Dodger Stadium. Over the last three seasons, Los Angeles is 28-13 (.683) vs. San Diego during the regular season. Since 2017, the Boys in Blue are 74-34 against the Padres with a 38-15 (.717) record at Chavez Ravine. The Dodgers are 9-7 in 2023 and 63-29 (.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 416-249 (.626) against the NL West.

MAX IN OVERDRIVE: Dodger third baseman Max Muncy is tied with Patrick Wisdom for second in the Major Leagues with 12 home runs, one shy of Pete Alonso (13). Muncy ranks among the NL leaders in RBI (29, T-3rd), walks (26, T-4th) and OPS (.912, 9th).

THE ROOK: The reigning Rookie of the Month James Outman went 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored Wednesday afternoon and leads all rookies in runs scored (26), triples (3), extra-base hits (19), OPS (.952), slugging percentage (.578) and total bases (74). Outman ranks third with 23 RBI, a .281 average and a .374 on-base percentage.

LONG BALLS: The Dodgers belted three more home runs on Wednesday and now have 64 on the season, which is second in the Majors, behind only the Tampa Bay Rays (76). The Dodgers have recorded 3+ homers in 12 games this season, which is tied with the Rays for the most in baseball. Los Angeles is second in the Majors with 30 games with at least one homer, behind the Rays (34), who have homered in all but five games this season.

TONIGHT’S STARTER vs. PADRES: RHP DUSTIN MAY (4-1, 2.68 ERA in 7 GS)
2023 NOTES:

  • Notched his fourth win of the season in his last start on Saturday against the Padres, tossing six scoreless innings, giving up three hits and one walk while sitting down six…tied his season-high strikeouts
  • Ranks eighth in the National League in WHIP at 0.942 and fourth in the NL in opponents’ batting average at .164
  • Texas native took the mound in five games (four starts) during Cactus League play, posting a 5-4 record with 2.95 ERA (6 ER/18.1 IP) and 20
    strikeouts against just seven walks…pitched in Spring Training for the first time since 2021…missed 2022 while recovering from Tommy John surgery

vs. PADRES:

  • Notched a win against San Diego on Saturday, firing six scoreless innings, giving up only three hits and one walk while sitting down six
  • Will face the Padres for 12th time in his career… he is 2-4 with a 3.44 ERA (20 ER/52.1 IP) and 49 strikeouts
Mikey Balhan Sports

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