The Dodgers entered the series opener on Thursday atop the NL West standings with a 14-4 overall record. Meanwhile, the Padres have fallen five games back after a disappointing showing in an interleague series against the Mariners earlier this week. Perhaps San Diego was caught looking ahead to this weekend, as the Padres dropped all three of their games at home against the Seattle Mariners to fall to 10-10 on the season.
Can San Diego get its revenge with a win on the road against the Dodgers on Friday night?
Kershaw riding 18-inning scoreless streakLos Angeles is scheduled to hand the ball to left-hander Clayton Kershaw for his fifth start of the season on Friday night. Kershaw had an ugly Opening Day start on the road at Coors Field but has since recovered with three consecutive quality outings. He’s allowed just one run over his last three starts (0.47 ERA), winning on all three occasions, while striking out 24 batters during that span. The Dodgers’ ace comes in riding a scoreless streak of 18 innings. He owns a 3-1 record and 2.19 ERA so far this season.
Clayton Kershaw and Jurickson Profar yell at each other. pic.twitter.com/2zHIjMP4Zg— Chad Moriyama (@ChadMoriyama) April 18, 2021
As good as Kershaw has been this season, his peripherals indicate that he still has room for improvement so far this year. While the lefty has yet to give up a home run, he’s had some bad luck by way with a .296 BABIP and he has stranded just 70.8 percent of his baserunners so far this season. Kershaw also sports a healthy 2.16 xERA and a 1.50 FIP, which bodes well for his prospects moving forward.
The Dodgers’ lefty shut down the Padres in his last start, striking out eight batters and allowing just two hits in six scoreless innings of work. He is 22-7 with a 1.99 ERA and 0.97 WHIP in 41 career starts against San Diego. According to Baseball Savant, Kershaw has held current Padres to a .228 batting average in 170 plate appearances coming into this game.
Darvish hoping for better run support in rematch vs. KershawSan Diego will send right-handed Ace Yu Darvish to the hill for the second game of its series at Dodger Stadium. Darvish is coming off of his first start against his former team but suffered a tough-luck loss despite allowing just one run and striking out nine batters in seven innings of work. The 34-year-old enters with a 1-1 overall record to go along with a 2.55 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 24 ⅔ innings of work.
Yu Darvish, 71mph Curveball & 82mph Slider (hand positions/side by side). pic.twitter.com/1m79nTi70r— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 13, 2021
Darvish has always been among the most lethal strikeout pitchers in baseball but it has been his command that has turned him into an elite starter in recent seasons. He’s continued that trend through four starts. Despite relying on his slider more often this season, Darvish comes in walking just 1.82 batters per nine innings of work.
In two career starts against the Dodgers, Darvish has been lights out, posting a 1.29 ERA and 0.43 WHIP, but has managed an 0-1 record for his efforts. According to Baseball Savant, current Dodgers are batting just 0.060 in 53 plate appearances off of Darvish, who has struck them out a whopping 47.4 percent of the time.
- Padres are 5-1 in their last 6 road games with the total set at 9.0-10.5.
- Padres are 8-2 in their last 10 Friday games.
- Padres are 5-2 in their last 7 road games.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Kershaw won the first pitchers duel between these two aces in a 2-0 Dodgers’ win in their last meeting. However, I’d like to think Darvish has the edge here. Kershaw is due to give up a run soon after stringing together 18 scoreless frames over his last three starts combined. On the other hand, Darvish sports some ridiculous numbers against the Dodgers’ current lineup and should be able to have success on the road at Dodger Stadium in this matchup. Take San Diego to come out on top on the road in this matchup on Friday night.
Full-Game Total Pick
With these two pitchers on the mound, 7.5 runs seem like a major stretch in this spot. Kershaw has proven that he has plenty left in the tank since his disastrous outing on Opening Day. He comes in riding a scoreless streak of 18 innings and has struck out 24 batters over his last 19 frames combined. Meanwhile, Darvish has gone at least six innings and allowed no more than one run in each of his last three starts, so the under seems like a no-brainer here. Don’t make this one too complicated. Take the under at Dodger Stadium on Friday evening.