The 2018 Major League championship of Mexico will be decided Sunday afternoon as the Los Angeles Dodgers meet the San Diego Padres in the rubber match of a three-game series in Monterrey.
The Padres rebounded with a 7-4 win on Saturday night after being no-hit by Dodgers starter Walker Buehler and three relievers Friday night.
Rookie left-hander Eric Lauer will start for the Padres in Sunday’s decisive game of the series.
The Dodgers will counter with Ross Stripling, who is replacing Rich Hill. Hill was slated to come off the disabled list but was scratched from Sunday’s start.
Saturday marked the Padres’ first win against the Dodgers this season after four straight losses.
Lauer will be making his third Major League start Sunday while facing the Dodgers for the first time. He is 0-1 with a 10.13 ERA in his first two starts. He has allowed 10 runs (nine earned) on 13 hits and six walks with 10 strikeouts in eight innings.
However, he finished his most recent start against the Giants in San Francisco with four straight scoreless innings after giving up three runs in the first.
“The way he came out of his second start against the Giants was very encouraging,” said Padres manager Andy Green of Lauer. “I think he gained a lot of confidence after a rough start.”
In his Major League debut in very cold conditions at Coors Field in Colorado on April 24, Lauer gave up seven runs (six earned) on six hits and four walks in just three innings.
Lauer, 22, was the third of the Padres three first-round picks (25th overall) in the 2016 draft out of Kent State University where he was named college baseball’s Pitcher of the Year off a 10-2 record and 0.69 ERA.
Lauer advanced from rookie ball to Single-A Fort Wayne in his first professional summer and split the 2017 season almost evenly between Advanced Single-A Lake Elsinore and Double-A San Antonio, going a combined 6-8 with a 3.30 ERA in 22 games (21 starts). He was 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA in three starts for Triple-A El Paso this April before being promoted to the Padres.
In less than two minor league seasons, Lauer has made 37 appearances at every level in the Padres system.
The 38-year-old Hill has been on the disabled list since April 14 with a cracked fingernail on the middle finger of his pitching hand. Hill has a history of blister problems on his pitching hand and with humid conditions scheduled for Sunday, the Dodgers opted to scratch him.
Stripling is 0-1 with a 2.33 ERA in 12 appearances this season. He made his only start on April 30 at Arizona Stripling allowed four runs and eight hits in four innings.
Stripling is 1-3 with a 5.06 ERA in seven career appearances against the Padres.
With the three games in Monterrey actually being the Padres home games, the Dodgers will play in San Diego only one more time this season for a four-game series July 9-12.