Padres-Dodgers Preview


The Los Angeles Dodgers turned to top prospect Yasiel Puig to provide a spark for the struggling club.

So far, so good.

With two very good performances under his belt, Puig looks to help Los Angeles earn a three-game sweep of the San Diego Padres as Clayton Kershaw takes the mound Wednesday night.

The Dodgers (25-32) had lost four of five and decided to give Puig a crack at the big leagues after a solid stretch in the minors.

The 22-year-old Cuban defector has answered the call - and then some. Batting leadoff, Puig went 2 for 4 and made a stellar throw from the warning track to double a runner off first base to end Monday's 2-1 victory in his debut.

He followed that effort by hitting two homers - a three-run shot in the fifth and a two-run homer the next inning - while also adding a double in Tuesday's 9-7 victory.

"I'm more happy because the team won,'' Puig said.

Manager Don Mattingly is excited the rookie is providing some pop in the lineup.

"(Monday) was storybook. (Tuesday) you were seeing the power, so it's a big impact," Mattingly said. "We've had a serious lack of power and run production, so it's two things we need.''

San Diego manager Bud Black has been equally impressed.

''The kid, when you trot out the offensive tools, there is some raw power in there, there's speed (and) there is strength to his swing,'' Black said.

Los Angeles, which hasn't won three straight since sweeping Pittsburgh from April 5-7, will look to Kershaw (5-3, 1.85 ERA) to help keep the team rolling.

Kershaw's ERA is third-best in baseball, though he hasn't been at his best over his last two outings. He allowed four runs in seven innings of a 5-3 loss to St. Louis on May 26 before giving up three runs and a season-worst eight hits in seven frames of the Dodgers' 7-5 win Friday.

The left-hander struggled the last time he faced San Diego, too, giving up five runs - three earned - while walking four in 5 1-3 innings of a 7-2 loss April 17. He had gone 4-0 with a 1.93 ERA over his previous seven starts versus the Padres, who will look to avoid a fourth consecutive defeat.

San Diego (26-32) held a pair of two-run leads Tuesday as it got homers from Carlos Quentin, Kyle Banks and Chris Denorfia, but it couldn't hang on.

Quentin, who is 7 for 13 with three extra-base hits over his last three games, was one of five Padres with at least two hits.

San Diego looks to get back on track with help from Jason Marquis, who hasn't lost in seven outings.

Marquis (6-2, 3.82) had won five straight starts while posting a 2.27 ERA, though he's struggled while not getting a decision in his last two. He allowed four runs in 3 1-3 innings of a 6-5 loss to Arizona on May 26 before giving up three runs in 5 1-3 frames of San Diego's 4-3, 17-inning win over Toronto on Friday.

The right-hander is 2-0 with a 2.41 ERA in his last three starts versus the Dodgers, including allowing one run in 7 2-3 innings of a 9-2 road win April 16.

Marquis has had plenty of success against Andre Ethier (3 for 29) in his career.