The Los Angeles Dodgers own baseball’s best record against left-handed starters as they face one who is among the majors’ leaders in defeats.
Former Dodgers pitcher Eric Stults, however, is slowly turning around his miserable season for the San Diego Padres.
The NL West leaders will send Roberto Hernandez to the mound in his home debut opposite Stults when this three-game set continues Wednesday night.
Los Angeles (71-56) is 20-10 in games in which opponents start left-handers and will see a familiar face in Stults, who began his career with the club from 2006-09.
Stults (5-13, 4.64 ERA) is one loss shy of matching Philadelphia’s A.J. Burnett for the most in baseball, and he’s 1-9 with a 5.11 ERA in 14 road starts.
However, the southpaw is 2-0 with a 1.37 ERA in three outings this month, allowing two runs in seven innings in Thursday’s 4-3 loss at St. Louis.
Stults is 1-4 with a 3.96 ERA in six outings against his first big league club, including 1-2 with a 3.70 ERA in four at Dodger Stadium. He has had trouble against Carl Crawford (5 for 10 against him) and Matt Kemp (5 for 12).
Those two hitters were among the stars for the Dodgers in Tuesday’s 8-6 victory. Crawford went 3 for 3 with his fifth homer – first since May 23 – a stolen base and three RBIs and Kemp added two doubles and scored twice as Los Angeles avoided its first four-game slide.
Crawford is 16 for 32 with six RBIs and eight runs scored in his last nine games.
”Things are starting to get better for me,” he said. ”Hopefully some more (home runs) will come.”
The Dodgers lead the majors with 115 stolen bases – with Dee Gordon’s 56 the most in baseball. Their speed could be a factor if the Padres (58-66) use Yasmani Grandal as their starting catcher after Rene Rivera was behind the plate Tuesday.
Grandal’s stolen base percentage as a catcher is 88.4 percent for the NL’s worst mark.
Hernandez (7-8, 3.72) will make his third start since being acquired from Philadelphia on Aug. 7, allowing one run in six innings to earn Thursday’s 6-4 victory at Atlanta.
The veteran right-hander yielded two runs over six innings to win his lone start against the Padres when he was with Tampa Bay on May 12, 2013, in which he coincidentally matched up with Stults.
The Dodgers recalled Erisbel Arruebarrena from Triple-A Albuquerque on Tuesday and the shortstop had an RBI single in three at-bats. Miguel Rojas was starting at shortstop previously with Hanley Ramirez injured.
"We like both guys," manager Don Mattingly told MLB’s official website. "I think Miggy had shown he probably plays a little bit more second and third. He gives you a little bit different package. Arruebarrena has been really good at short."
San Diego fell to 1-4 halfway through this 10-game trip. Jedd Gyorko went 2 for 5 with a three-run homer, with the second baseman hitting .312 since being activated off the disabled list July 28.
He’s part of a resurgent Padres offense that leads the NL with 4.6 runs per game since the All-Star break.