Rain may intrude Dodgers-Padres series finale (May 07, 2017)

SAN DIEGO — This region’s notorious May Gray skies might leak for Sunday’s Dodgers-Padres game.

“We are going to try and get it in,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “But it doesn’t look good.”

The weather report is filled with predictions of rain, but maybe the teams can hopscotch the wet stuff to get in the final contest of the three-game series.

Rain or shine, the starters have been announced: Brandon McCarthy (3-0, 3.10 ERA) for the Dodgers and Trevor Cahill (2-2, 3.60) for the Padres.

The right-handed McCarthy was slated to pitch Saturday, but gave way to Clayton Kershaw after suffering a left shoulder injury while lifting weights Wednesday. Kershaw won Saturday, giving the Dodgers the first two games of the series.

For the Dodgers, they hope McCarthy can keep his string of strong pitching going. Roberts said the reason for McCarthy’s success is simple.

“He’s got a four-pitch mix and he is attacking hitters,” Roberts said. “He is throwing strikes and keeping them off-balance. He is working off quadrants, working them front to back.”

But there’s also something McCarthy is offering that doesn’t register on a speed gun. He’s pitching with confidence and a belief that’s hard to ignore.

“Honestly, when he gets out there, there is a really high-end love of confidence he’s got,” Roberts said.

McCarthy’s want-to is off-the-charts, Roberts said, but it can’t match Kershaw’s, right?

Wrong.

“I think the last year (McCarthy) overcame a lot, considering where he was at last year, he is really just determined,” Roberts said. “As much as if not more than any pitcher we have right now.”

Little went right for McCarthy in 2016 when he tried to come back from Tommy John surgery, appearing for the first time in July. But he ended up being waylaid by a bum hip, limited to nine starts and one other outing in going 2-3 with a 4.95 ERA.

So McCarthy knows about black clouds and if one happens to rain out his start Sunday, he’ll survive.

But he would sure hate to be halted by Mother Nature when the Padres are the foe. He’s crafted a nifty 8-1 career record, with a 3.79 ERA, against San Diego. He illustrated his dominance April 6 in allowing two runs and four hits in six innings and being charged with four hits and two runs in a 10-2 victory over the Padres in Los Angeles.

Cahill’s career as a starter has a pulse again and he’s eager to take the mound. He’s coming off a dominating performance in which he neutralized the Rockies’ potent lineup, allowing an unearned run and three hits over six innings in winning his second straight decision.

“He’s been for the most part, really good all year,” Padres manager Andy Green said. “His curveball has been outstanding and he has great secondary pitches. That is where his strength is.”

Among Cahill’s losses is one handed him by the Dodgers last month. He surrendered five hits and three runs (two earned) in 5 2/3 innings. Overall, Cahill is 6-6 with a 3.82 ERA against the Dodgers.

Green said he’s noticed a more at-ease Cahill since they both were with the Diamondbacks.

“When I was with him in Arizona, compared to who he is now, he is much more comfortable in his own skin,” Green said. “He is just way more relaxed and confident in what he can do. He doesn’t feel pressed to prove himself to validate a trade or a contract. He is just going out and playing baseball.”