Dodgers fine-tune playoff plans at Padres

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Could the Dodgers be gearing up for a bullpen start in the fourth game of the National League playoffs?

They are certainly set up for that possibility.

After left-hander Rich Hill pitched two scoreless innings Tuesday night in a test of his brace-supported left knee, the Dodgers are planning to start Ross Stripling Wednesday night against the Padres at Petco Park in San Diego.

“Stripling would probably not go more than three innings,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “We’re looking at a lot of options.”

Including the possibility of Hill starting the fourth game of the playoffs on a gimpy knee and a limit of around four innings – which is the number the Dodgers are hoping he will pitch Sunday in the regular season finale in San Francisco.

Stripling’s outing Wednesday is merely a bridge.

Stripling (4-4, 3.32 ERA) will face the Dinelson Lamet (3-5, 3.84 ERA) in the Padres’ penultimate home game of a 2019 season that has soured since the All-Star break, costing Andy Green his managerial position.

Still, the Padres are looking to finish with a strong series against the Dodgers with an eye to 2020.

“They’re going to see the best of the best,” interim Padres manager Rod Barajas said of his younger players facing the already-crowned National League West-champion Dodgers. “Obviously, the Dodgers are an elite team. It’s time to shine. We’ve gone up against other good teams, but this is the best right here. If you put yourself on the map against the Dodgers, you can probably compete against any team in either league.”

Stripling, 29, will be making his 15th start of the season Wednesday, but only his second start this month. He has also made 16 relief appearances and has a 1.13 WHIP and a .242 opponents’ batting average with 85 strikeouts in 86 2/3 innings.

Stripling has a 4-5 career record against the Padres with a 3.19 ERA, a 1.228 WHIP and a .256 OBA in 14 appearances (six starts). He has 50 strikeouts against 10 walks in 42 1/3 innings. He has performed particularly well at Petco Park during his career with a 3-1 record and a 0.59 ERA, a 0.913 WHIP and a .182 OBA in seven appearances (one start). This will be his fourth appearance and second start against the Padres this season.

Lamet makes his 14th start of the season after having Tommy John surgery in the spring of 2018. He returned against the Dodgers back on July 4, giving up three runs on three hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in five innings to suffer the loss. He gave up a homer to Max Muncy in that game.

One of his best outings since his return came last Wednesday against the Brewers in Milwaukee when he allowed one run on three hits and three walks with a career-high 14 strikeouts in just six innings to snap a three-outing losing streak.

Lamet will be making his fourth career start against the Dodgers. He is 0-3 in his three previous outings with a 4.50 ERA, a 1.50 WHIP and a .220 OBA – giving up eight runs on 13 hits and 11 walks with 24 strikeouts in 16 innings.

The Dodgers are 11-6 against the Padres this season and 5-2 at Petco Park.

–Field Level Media

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