San Diego Padres (59-86) at LA Dodgers (77-68)

The Dodgers have lost two in a row and are now 3 ½ games back in the wild card race. They will have to stop the bleeding against a gritty Padre team that has beaten them this season 9 of 12 times. The Padres avoided a sweep against a Giants team that has owned them with an improbable pinch hit single off the bat of Keith Lockhart.

Game One

RHP Kevin Jarvis (4-7, 5.85) and LHP Wilson Alvarez (4-1, 2.44)

Jarvis was bad in August, and did not get September off to a tremendous start. However, there are two reports on Jarvis. One, he has been tipping his pitches. Secondly, he has some soreness in his surgically repaired elbow. I spoke with Jarvis on Wednesday and he said he was a go on Friday and newspaper reports indicated the same thing on Thursday. If Jarvis is unable to go, look for Scott Linebrink, Joe Roa, or Mike Bynum to make a spot start.

The last time the Padres faced Alvarez they touched up the lefty for 6 runs in 4 innings pitched. Alvarez has been effective of late allowing only 1 run in each of his last two starts. His fastball can get into the low 90s but usually it will be in the upper 80s. He goes through bouts of wildness, but he has been keeping the free passes to a minimum of late.

Game Two

RHP Jake Peavy (11-10, 4.15) and RHP Kevin Brown (13-8, 2.44)

What people have to love about Peavy is that he is a tough competitor. He did not have his best stuff nor did he have command of what he did have his last time out, yet he managed to allow only 2 hits to NL Central leading Astros. Peavy was all over the place, walking 5 batters in 6 IP but he continued to battle to take his record over .500.

If it is any indication of what the 1998 season meant to Padres fans, Kevin Brown was voted by fans to the All Time Team and he only played one season with the Padres. After two injury plagued seasons, Kevin Brown is back, nasty temperament and all. When Brown has it working, he has the nasty movement down in the zone which causes guys to either ground out or strike out.

Game Three

RHP Ben Howard (1-1, 3.63) and RHP Hideo Nomo (15-11, 2.88)

Howard took his first loss of the season after giving up 2 solo home runs to the Giants on Tuesday. Control and the long ball are his two concerns right now. He has had as many walks as Ks and has given up 5 big flies in 17.1 IP. Howard needs to be aggressive in the zone because the Dodgers have the lowest home run total in the majors and are only ahead of Detroit in run production.

Nomo missed his scheduled start on September 9th due to shoulder soreness. Nomo has not had much success against the Padres. In fact, 3 of his 11 losses have come at the bats of San Diego. Nomo has a very unorthodox delivery. If he gets out of whack, he can give up a lot of free passes. When he is on, he will strike teams out at an alarming rate. Should he not be able to go, look for 20 year old right-hander Edwin Jackson to get the nod.

Hitters to Watch

Brian Giles has changed the face of the offense. He has hit .355 with 1 HR and 8 RBI since joining the Padres with and on-base percentage of .442. He has made the entire lineup that much better. Phil Nevin has gone on a tear hitting behind him. He has drawn 7 walks and only K'd 3 times in his tenure. If he does not drive in the run, he continues to set the table for Nevin.

Adrian Beltre has been enigmatic for the Dodgers. At times he flashes the brilliance that baseball people boast about and at times he looks disinterested. In September, he has hit .395 with 2 HR and 7 RBI.

Other Notes

Sean Burroughs has been hit by a pitch 10 times this season. Barry Bonds has been hit 9 times. Speaking of Bonds, it was one of the few times that Bonds has not hit a home run in Qualcomm. Bonds had 9 ABs to reach the seats and was unable to do so.

Fearless Prediction

Padres win 2 of 3. Sean Burroughs gets his average over .300 to stay and Rondell White will be buying Seanie B. a Rolex.

Kim Lewis can be reached at

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