Thursday night is the start of a four-game weekend set between a pair of National League West rivals, the San Diego Padres and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers are once again one of, if not the best team in all of baseball. At 59-29, they are four games in the win column ahead of the Yankees for the best record in MLB.
The Dodgers are also one of only three teams in the league that have a run differential over 100, at +131. The Padres sit at 42-44 currently, only 2.5 games out of the last Wild Card spot in the NL. It has been a streaky season for the Padres, as they’ll win four games in a row but then lose four in a row. If the Padres can find consistency, with all their young pieces, they can make a run at the Wild Card.
For the Padres, Dinelson Lamet will make his long-awaited return to Major League Baseball after a 15-month layoff due to Tommy John surgery. Lamet had a very underrated rookie season in 2017. He only went 7-8 with a 4.57 ERA. However, he set the franchise record for K/9 at 10.94 and had a FIP of 4.35.
He started 21 games that season, and in nine of them, he pitched five innings or more and gave up three runs or less. In those games, he not only didn’t get a win but didn’t get a decision at all. His total of seven wins could have easily been 13 or 14 instead. He wouldn’t have beat out Cody Bellinger for the Rookie of the Year, but he definitely would have been in the running at least, as he didn’t finish in the top nine of the voting.
If he gets some of those wins, he would’ve had nearly identical stats to German Marquez, who finished fifth and was the top pitcher. Lamet has made three starts in Triple-A this season on rehab, going 1-0 with a 4.80 ERA.
For the Dodgers, Hyun-Jin Ryu will take the hill for his 17th start of the season. Ryu is 9-2 with a 1.83 ERA so far this season and is not only starting tonight but also starting the All-Star Game for the NL. It is well deserved as well, as Ryu has been one of, if not the best pitcher in the league this season.
Last time out, however, Ryu threw up a dud. He only went four innings, his second shortest start of the season, giving up seven earned runs, which marks the first time he has given up more than two runs in a start this season. That’s right, Ryu has made 16 starts and only one time he has given up more than two runs. Insanity. The reason for his terrific season is he walks virtually nobody (BB/9 less than 1) and doesn’t give up any home runs (only seven in his first 15 starts).
A pitcher who hasn’t thrown a major league inning in 15 months and the best pitcher in baseball. A team under .500 and the best team in the league. This shouldn’t be hard. Take the Dodgers.
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