Can the Dodgers Avoid Being Swept in San Diego?

Looking at the empty uniform non-manager Don Mattingly’s intended lineup for this afternoon’s final game in San Diego, I’d have to say no. Despite having Hyun-Jin Ryu (13-6, 3.28 ERA) back and starting today, instead of, well, let’s say Kevin Correia (2-2, 6.75 ERA), the rest of the lineup is a mess.

Mattingly has the slumping Yasiel Puig leading off, despite his average sinking to its lowest point since April 30, after going five-for-39 over his last 11 games. In that span, Puig has zero extra base hits and zero runs batted in as well. So who is the team’s hottest hitter, you ask, and is he hitting third or cleanup today? Well, you should know that the hottest hitter on the team is Justin Turner, who has hit .386 for the month of August. As to where is he

batting in the lineup, that's a trick question, as Mattingly has decided that Darwin Barney (.229) is a better choice at second base with Dee Gordon getting the day off, and that there is no other position where the hot-hitting Turner would be his first choice, so today Turner's position is sitting on the bench.

After losing two extra-inning games in San Diego, with ten relief appearances in the two games, the
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Dodgers’ bullpen may be a bit over-taxed, with the exception of closer Kenley Jansen, whose services the team has not needed since last Wednesday. Ryu has not pitched in 18 days, so it’s anybody’s guess how long he will be able to go today. On his best days, he has seldom pitched deep into a game as of late, as over his last 18 starts, he’s gone more than six innings only six times, and never more than seven. As a rookie last year, Ryu pitched two complete games, but this year, with a month to go in the season, he’s gotten as far as into the eight inning only once, and that was one-out deep, and back in May.

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Of course, the light-hitting Padres are not a formidable offensive foe for Ryu and the Dodgers, as they scored only five runs over 22 innings in the first two games of the series, are a distant last in the National League in runs scored and have a hard to believe .226 team batting average, but with Dodgers' bats doing absolutely nothing as of late but slapping a few singles around (only five extra
base hits over the last two games), he cannot expect much run support. Interestingly enough, despite the Dodgers having scored more than 100 more runs this season than the Padres, in two more games for the season than San Diego has played, the best team money can buy has hit only six more home runs than the Padres.

Padre starter and ex-Dodger Eric Stults, despite being only one loss off of the major league lead, beat the Dodgers the last time he pitched against them, just 11 days ago, and pitched very well in an earlier 2-1 loss.

Another extra innings loss to San Diego? I wouldn’t bet against it.

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