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Preview: Padres at Dodgers

Weather information is currently unavailable. 5-Day Forecast GAME: San Diego Padres (74-87) at Los Angeles Dodgers (91-70)
DATE/TIME: Sunday, October 04 – 3:10 PM EST
WHERE: Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California

Securing home-field advantage in the National League Division Series appeared to be a longshot for the Los Angeles Dodgers six days ago, but there is very little drama left as the regular season draws to a close. The Dodgers, who discovered on Saturday they would host the first two games of the NLDS, look to continue building momentum one day later as they attempt to complete a three-game home sweep of the San Diego Padres.

Los Angeles (91-70) trailed the New York Mets (89-72) by two games and did not have the home-field tiebreaker on its side after its fourth straight setback on Monday. The Dodgers rebounded by winning four of the next five – including Saturday’s 2-1 victory – while the NL East-champion Mets followed a four-game winning streak by dropping five in a row. As a result, Clayton Kershaw’s bid to produce the majors’ 65th 300-strikeout season figures to take center stage in the regular-season finale against an opponent Los Angeles has defeated 13 times in 18 tries the season. While the Dodgers begin their preparations for Game 1 of the NLDS beginning on Oct. 9, the Padres hope to avoid ending 2015 with their sixth loss in seven contests.

TV: 3:10 p.m. ET, FSN San Diego, SportsNet LA (Los Angeles)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Padres LH Frank Garces (0-0, 5.00 ERA) vs. Dodgers LH Clayton Kershaw (16-7, 2.16)

Following 39 relief appearances this season and 54 overall, Garces will draw his first career start and likely pitch no longer than an inning as the Padres have opted to work exclusively out of the bullpen to get one final look at some of their young relievers. The 25-year-old Dominican, who has allowed eight homers and 20 walks in 36 innings, has posted a 9.39 ERA since the All-Star break and is allowing right-handed hitters to bat .316. In 10 career appearances against the Dodgers, Garces has allowed one run across 8 1/3 innings.

Kershaw, who already has thrown an NL-high 229 innings, needs only six more strikeouts to become the first pitcher since 2002 to reach 300 in a season. The reigning NL MVP helped himself immensely in his quest to reach that plateau on Tuesday, fanning 13 in a one-hit shutout of San Francisco to help the Dodgers clinch the division title. Manager Don Mattingly already has suggested this will be a short outing for Kershaw, who is slated to pitch the first game of the NLDS and is 12-6 with a 2.29 ERA in 26 all-time starts against the Padres.


1. A victory on Sunday would allow Los Angeles to tie the club record set in 1980 for most wins in Dodger Stadium history (55).

2. The Padres’ starting lineup on Saturday included only two players with more than three years of big-league service time, thanks in part to injuries to outfielders Matt Kemp, Wil Myers and Justin Upton.

3. Dodgers RF Yasiel Puig was activated from the disabled list Saturday after missing the previous 34 games due to a hamstring injury and went 1-for-3.

PREDICTION: Dodgers 5, Padres 1