Top Weekend Series Preview: Padres Visit the Dodgers

Jose Azocar San Diego Padres Trea Turner Los Angeles Dodgers
Jose Azocar #28 of the San Diego Padres steals second base ahead of the tag of Trea Turner #6 of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Denis Poroy/Getty Images/AFP.

It’s not even September yet, but the Los Angeles Dodgers have just about sewn up the National League West for the ninth time in 10 years. As we go to press, the Dodgers (89-38, plus-10.58 betting units) have a 19.5-game lead over their closest rivals, the San Diego Padres (71-59, minus-3.37 units).

In theory, San Diego still has time to catch up – but they’ll be happy just to make the playoffs at this point. The Padres hold the third and last Wild Card berth on the senior circuit, 1.5 games ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers; if things don’t go well at Chavez Ravine this weekend, San Diego’s postseason dreams could go up in smoke.

With that in mind, let’s take a peek at this three-game series, starting with what looks like a promising pitcher’s duel on paper.


San Diego Padres vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

Friday, September 2, 2022 – 10:10 PM EDT at Dodger Stadium


Friday’s Probable Pitchers

Nothing’s official just quite yet, but if their respective pitching rotations hold up, it should be Sean Manaea (3.91 xFIP) taking the mound for the Padres opposite Julio Urias (3.70 xFIP).

Sean Manaea Analysis

It might be San Diego’s best chance of beating the MLB odds this weekend. That’s if Manaea finds his groove again. When the Padres acquired the young southpaw from the Oakland A’s during the offseason, they were getting a pitcher coming off an impressive 2021 campaign, one that generated 3.2 WAR (Wins Above Replacement) according to FanGraphs.

Manaea hasn’t been able to duplicate those results in San Diego. He hasn’t fallen into a crater or anything, but Manaea’s strikeouts are down, his walks and home runs allowed are up, and the Padres are just 12-12 in his 24 starts (Over 13-9-2) for a loss of 3.84 betting units.

Julio Urias Analysis

Julio Urias is putting together yet another strong season for the Dodgers, although an unprofitable one at minus-0.45 units. Chalk is one of the reasons; Urias has a team record of 16-9 thus far. Lack of run support is another; Urias has the Under at 16-6-3, second only to Houston’s Justin Verlander (18-6) in the majors.

The thing is, Urias has also seen the same dip in production as Manaea this year. But through a combination of superior team defense and dumb luck, Urias has posted a tiny .237 BABIP (Batting Average on Balls in Play) allowed, with 83.2% of runners left stranded. That’s why his 2.32 ERA is so small compared to his 3.70 xFIP.

Manaea, on the other hand, is looking at a relatively normal (but still high) .300 BABIP allowed, with 67.0 percent of runners left on base. Regression to the mean could be enough to get the Padres over the hump in Game 1.


San Diego Padres vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

Saturday, September 3, 2022 – 09:10 PM EDT at Dodger Stadium


Hard to Predict Probable Pitchers

The Dodgers just lost SP Tony Gonsolin to the 15-day IL with a strained right forearm, so we’re not even going to hazard a guess who’ll start for them the rest of the way – especially with Clayton Kershaw set to make his return this Thursday.

But if Kershaw does end up pitching against the New York Mets (manager Dave Roberts isn’t telling, at least not yet), that Manaea-Urias matchup could get pushed to Game 2 on Saturday.

This would otherwise be Yu Darvish’s spot in the rotation for the Padres. Darvish (3.55 xFIP) is enjoying yet another quality season, but with everything else going wrong in San Diego, he’s barely breaking even at plus-0.05 units (Under 16-7-1) on a team record of 13-11. It hardly seems fair.


San Diego Padres vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

Sunday, September 4, 2022 – 07:08 PM EDT at Dodger Stadium


Sunday’s finale is a matinee affair at Chavez Ravine, and it should be the hottest of the series, with game-time temperatures topping 100 degrees under sunny skies. It’ll feel like 110 according to the forecast, and probably hotter than that on the diamond.

Friday’s Probable Pitchers

Padres’ Clear Candidate

Again, if San Diego’s rotation holds, it should be Mike Clevinger (4.48 xFIP) getting the nod for Game 3. Clevinger hasn’t had a lot of luck with injuries during his career, but his supporters are up 2.35 units this year on a team record of 10-5 (Over 9-6), so at least something’s going right for the man they call Sunshine.

Dodgers’ Candidates

If he does get the start, Clevinger will face a virtually complete L.A. batting order – almost all their injuries have been in the pitching department.

We’ll see how the Dodgers choose to re-shuffle their rotation, but Dustin May (2.92 xFIP in two starts) and Andrew Heaney (2.93 xFIP in nine starts) are strong candidates to join Urias for this series. Bet accordingly.

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