Dodgers-Padres will match struggling Cy Young winners
Two former Cy Young Award winners who have struggled of late will oppose each other Tuesday night as the Padres host the Dodgers in the second game of a three-game series.
Certainly, the Dodgers’ three-time Cy Young winner, Clayton Kershaw, hasn’t been his lights-out self, while the Padres’ Blake Snell has had some issues.
Still, neither left-hander’s numbers are what they were expected to be.
Kershaw is 8-6 this season, with a 3.36 earned-run average, a 1.01 WHIP and a .222 opponents’ batting average. For Kershaw, 33, his ERA hasn’t been this high since his rookie season of 2008.
Snell, the American League’s Cy Young winner in 2018, is 2-3 this season, with a 5.72 ERA, a 1.57 WHIP and a .245 opponents’ average.
The odds favor Kershaw as the Dodgers try to battle back from a 5-3 deficit in the season series following Monday’s 6-2 loss to the Padres before a packed house at Petco Park in San Diego.
But the Padres think they have something extra going for them. They have won five straight to open a 10-game homestand as they’ve played before an average of almost 39,000 fans a game since California relaxed its pandemic protocols.
“We hear them,” Padres infielder Jake Cronenworth said of Monday’s capacity crowd. “And it makes a difference.”
But will it make a difference against Kershaw? The Dodgers’ ace has a 22-8 record in 42 career starts against the Padres, with a 0.97 WHIP and a .190 OBA. He has 292 strikeouts in 274 innings against them.
Of course, these Padres are not the Padres Kershaw faced through the first decade of his career. And these Padres are warming up offensively, with 11 homers during their five-game winning streak. Still, Kershaw is 1-1 against these Padres with a 2.08 ERA, a 0.77 WHIP and a .156 OBA — giving up three runs on seven hits and three walks against 15 strikeouts in two starts this season.
What is concerning is what has happened in Kershaw’s past four games. He is 1-3, giving up 13 runs (12 earned) on 26 hits and five walks with 33 strikeouts in 24 innings – for a 4.50 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP.
“It has been uncharacteristic,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of Kershaw’s recent struggles. “He loses his command, then resets.”
“It’s been frustrating,” Kershaw said. “I wasn’t pitching well. I don’t know what to tell you.”
Meanwhile, Snell repeatedly has said he’s close to putting it together while he’s fallen further behind.
Yes, on June 4, he shut out the Mets on one hit and a walk with 10 strikeouts over seven innings, throwing a season-high 101 pitches.
But in the four starts sandwiching that win, Snell is 0-3 (the Padres are 0-4) and has given up 22 runs on 24 hits and 11 walks with 15 strikeouts in just 14 innings — a 14.14 ERA and a 2.50 WHIP.
“I feel like I’m real close,” Snell said after his most recent outing, when he gave up seven runs on nine hits and two walks in just 3 1/3 innings at Coors Field in Denver on Wednesday in the finale of the Padres’ 1-5 trip. “I can’t explain why it’s gone like it has. But I feel confident it’s going to turn around.”
–Field Level Media