The Los Angeles Dodgers finally showed signs of breaking out of an offensive funk as their abbreviated 2020 season nears the 20-game mark.
The San Diego Padres like having something to do with their opponent’s scuffles.
Wednesday marked the third consecutive night that the Dodgers had a hard time getting their powerful offense on track against the San Diego Padres.
Los Angeles finally scratched together two runs in the fifth inning and powered its way to four runs in the eighth, capped by a three-run home run from Justin Turner, to emerge with a 6-0 victory.
The eighth-inning outburst was a long time coming. The Dodgers were held scoreless over the final eight innings Monday in the opener of a four-game series against the Padres and lost 2-1. On Tuesday, they scored just once in the first eight innings and lost again, 6-2.
In the third game of the series on Wednesday, there were more offensive issues as Padres starter Zach Davies opened with four scoreless innings. But the Dodgers used two bunts in the fifth to score a pair of runs. In the eighth, against the San Diego bullpen, Cody Bellinger had an RBI double to go along with Turner’s home run.
It won’t get any easier for the Dodgers on Thursday as they face San Diego right-hander Chris Paddack (2-1, 3.18 ERA). Paddack already has a victory over the Dodgers this season, limiting them to three runs over six innings on Aug. 3 as San Diego held on for a 5-4 decision.
Paddack is 1-1 with a 5.31 ERA in four career starts against the Dodgers.
It had been something of a statement week for the young Padres, who entered Wednesday with four victories in their past five games and had a chance to move alone into second place in the National League West.
“It’s mid-August baseball,” Padres catcher Austin Hedges told reporters, noting some intensity in six games between the teams so far. “That’s the way that it is. … Every game is a playoff push. That’s obviously going to add a little bit of pressure to perform, and sometimes those instances lead to some chirping here. That’s basically what it comes down to.”
The Padres can still win the series with a victory Thursday.
The Dodgers will have left-hander Julio Urias (1-0, 2.40 ERA) on the mound. He originally was expected to start Wednesday, but the team gave him an extra day of rest and called up young right-hander Tony Gonsolin to take the mound Wednesday.
Urias gave up just one run to the San Francisco Giants in his previous outing, but he lasted just four innings, throwing an inefficient 78 pitches.
Urias has not faced the Padres this season, but he does have a 1.76 ERA against them over seven career appearances, two of those starts. He does not have a decision against San Diego.
The real question is what kind of run support will Urias get. Plenty was expected from Bellinger after his MVP season in 2019, but his RBI on Wednesday was just his seventh in 18 games.
“It happens every year that a group of guys aren’t swinging the bat well,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters Wednesday. “We have this conversation every year. Every manager does. I think the guys are handling it well.
“We just have to be more consistent about scoring consistently. Runs per game, we’re at the top, near the top … so it’s just about going out there and continuing to take good at-bats.”
–Field Level Media