The Los Angeles Dodgers are having a hard time overtaking the San Francisco Giants for the top spot in the National League West, but right-hander Max Scherzer is doing all he can.
Scherzer has taken the mound in a Dodgers uniform seven times since he was acquired in a trade-deadline deal, with the team going 7-0 in those contests. He is 5-0 in those seven starts with a commanding 1.05 ERA in 43 innings.
The veteran’s eighth outing with his new club will come Sunday when he takes on the San Diego Padres in the finale of a three-game series. The Dodgers (90-53) will be chasing a sweep after a 5-4 victory over the Padres (74-67) on Saturday.
Sunday could be a milestone day for Scherzer, who is six strikeouts away from 3,000 in his career.
Scherzer (13-4, 2.28 ERA) already has faced the Padres once as a member of the Dodgers, scattering two hits and striking out 10 batters in 7 2/3 scoreless innings on Aug. 26. Los Angeles finished off a 4-0 victory.
In 14 career starts against the Padres, he is 5-2 with a 2.80 ERA and he has not lost a decision to them since 2014.
After a recent lineup change, the Dodgers are now sold on Mookie Betts staying in the leadoff spot the remainder of the season with Trea Turner lower in the order. Betts had a home run and four RBIs on Saturday.
“We felt like we’ve played pretty well, but we can play a little bit better,” Turner said. “Hopefully (the lineup change) will let us score more runs and win more ballgames.”
That inconsistent Dodgers offense will be up against Padres left-hander Blake Snell (7-6, 4.22) on Sunday. Snell has been on a roll of late with a 1.85 ERA over his past seven starts, and he even carried a no-hit bid into the seventh inning Tuesday against the Los Angeles Angels.
Over his past three outings, Snell has given up a combined three runs on four hits over 21 2/3 innings.
Snell is 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA in five career outings against the Dodgers, not counting his dominating start in Game 6 of last year’s World Series when he pitched for the Tampa Bay Rays.
Four of those five career starts against the Dodgers have come this season, with Snell delivering a 1-0 record and 1.96 ERA.
Like the Dodgers, the Padres offense has been a bit off kilter, getting shut out in two of their last four games. They scored four on Saturday, with three driven in by Fernando Tatis Jr.
Tatis returned to shortstop Saturday after playing in the outfield since his return from a shoulder injury, and his comfort level was evident immediately. The change was needed after Jake Cronenworth came away from Friday’s game with a fractured left ring finger.
“It’s just been a rough month, for me and for the team,” Tatis said. “We’ve just got to find a way how to get out of it. … Wherever they need me, I’m going to be there.”
The Padres, who are 8-18 in their past 26 games, lead the Cincinnati Reds for the National League’s second wild card by the slimmest of margins based on winning percentage.
–Field Level Media