The San Diego Padres just overcame a "tumultuous day," but with their top offensive threat gone and the Los Angeles Dodgers coming to town, runs could be at a premium in this series.
With Clayton Kershaw taking the ball for the Dodgers in the series opener, it could be even more difficult for the NL's worst offense to get anything going.The Padres will try to avoid a fourth straight loss in this NL West matchup Monday night when Los Angeles begins a six-game trip.If there was any question if San Diego (47-62) was in rebuilding mode, it was answered Sunday when the club dealt Heath Bell's lead setup man Mike Adams to Texas for two minor league pitchers and sent Ryan Ludwick and his team-leading 11 homers and 64 RBIs to Pittsburgh for a player to be named or cash.Playing their first game without those key contributors, the Padres avoided a third straight loss by defeating Colorado 8-3."A tumultuous day for sure," manager Bud Black said. "It was nice to come back in the eighth with those (six) runs."San Diego is batting .233 with a league-worst 3.5 runs per game, and with Ludwick gone, the club's home run leader is Cameron Maybin (6), while Chase Headley has a team-high 37 RBIs. That doesn't bode well moving forward as the Padres face a Dodgers team that's held them to a .205 batting average and 2.7 runs per game while winning six of nine matchups in 2011.Those numbers could get worse with Kershaw (12-4, 2.72 ERA) on the hill. The left-hander is 6-1 with a 1.68 ERA in his last seven outings, and has won a career-best four straight starts after tossing 6 2/3 innings of two-run ball in Tuesday's 3-2 victory over Colorado."He's grown as a pitcher," center fielder Matt Kemp said. "That's what you're supposed to do -- get better and better every year."Kershaw will look to match last season's career-high win total as he faces the Padres for the first time in 2011. He is 1-1 with a 2.22 ERA in four starts in San Diego.With Los Angeles (48-59) losing three of four and facing a 12 1/2-game deficit to West-leading San Francisco, manager Don Mattingly could use another solid outing from his left-hander."We've got to continue to play with a purpose," Mattingly, whose team has dropped eight of 11 on the road, told the Dodgers' official website following Sunday's 6-3 loss to Arizona. "It could be a long end of the season if we don't play with a purpose."Kemp seems to be. The All-Star is having a career year with 26 homers and an NL-best 82 RBIs, and he's batting .438 (14 for 32) with two home runs and 10 RBIs during an eight-game hitting streak.Kemp was 0 for 10 as the host Dodgers swept a three-game series July 8-10, but he's still batting .343 (12 for 35) in this divisional matchup in 2011.He is 1 for 2 with a double off Monday's scheduled starter Cory Luebke (3-5, 2.92).The rookie left-hander has lost his last two starts after getting tagged for a career-high three home runs over six innings in Wednesday's 4-3 loss to the Diamondbacks.Luebke fanned five and yielded one unearned run in four innings of relief in a 4-2, 11-inning home loss to Los Angeles on April 8.Maybin is 11 for 31 with a homer and four RBIs against the Dodgers in 2011. He has never faced Kershaw.