The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres will play a three-game series in Monterrey, Mexico, this weekend in what surely will be a set of home games for L.A.
The series was originally scheduled for Petco Park in San Diego. Usually, the ballpark in Downtown San Diego is overrun by Dodger fans not only coming down from the north, but also by thousands of L.A. fans in San Diego County.
Move the games to Mexico and the Padres, despite the fact that they will bat last in the three-game set as the designated home team, will find themselves with very few fans, as the Dodgers are easily the most popular major league team in Mexico.
It will be the Dodgers’ first trip to play regular season games in Mexico, while the Padres played the first-ever series in Monterrey.
San Diego faced the New York Mets at Estadio de Béisbol Monterrey back in 1996, taking two of three games from the Mets in a series that added to the legend of Ken Caminiti, who famously ate a snickers bar right before the series finale to fight off dehydration and food poisoning before homering in his first two at-bats of the game in an 8-0 win.
The Padres returned to Monterrey three years later to play their season-opener against the Colorado Rockies, dropping an 8-2 decision. The Rockies, at that time, had a player who would eventually become the greatest Mexican slugger in major league history in Vinny Castilla, who went 4-for-5 in the game. Castilla played with San Diego late in his 16-year career.
The three game series this weekend marks the first return to Mexico for MLB since that game.
The “Doyers” had the greatest pitcher in MLB history from south of the border in legendary lefty Fernando Valenzuela. Fernando, who also toiled late in his career with San Diego, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch on Friday in front of what should be a rousing ovation.
There will be only one Mexican-born player on the rosters of the two teams, as San Diego rookie third baseman Christian Villanueva hails from Guadalajara. He has been a mini-Vinny, if you will, so far, belting seven home runs in just 19 games.
The Padres have a huge Latino influence currently in their minor league system, mostly from the Dominican Republic, but also a half-dozen from Mexico, including 20-year old hot prospect Luis Urias.
BLUE JAYS (-120, 9.5) at TWINS (Wed., 10:10): The Jays’ Marcus Stroman hasn’t been able to figure things out this season with an 0-3 record and an 8.88 ERA. The Twins’ Phil Hughes is coming off a pair of surgeries over the last two years, hasn’t lasted four innings in his first two starts. An oblique injury postponed his debut. TOR, 6-5
BRAVES (+150, 8) at METS (Wed., 4:10): The Mets’ Jake deGrom sports a 2.06 ERA and is off to a 3-0 start for the NL East-leading Amazin’s, while the Braves’ Julio Teheran is up nearly three units so far despite a 4.50 ERA but left Friday’s game with upper back tightness after three innings. The team was hopeful he would be ready for the start here. NYM, 5-3
A’S (-125, 9u20) at MARINERS (Wed., 7:05): Oakland lefty Sean Manaea is more than just a no-hit wonder, as he followed up his no-no with seven strong innings for his third-straight win, lowing his ERA to just 1.03. The M’s counter with left James Paxton, who has just one win to show for six starts this season but struck out 10 last outing at Cleveland. OAK, 4-3
PIRATES (-105, 8.5u20) at NATIONALS (Thu., 10:05): Pirates’ lefty Steven Brault has an ERA near five so far and hasn’t looked too sharp in his last four starts for the surprising NL Central leaders. The Nats’ Jeremy Hellickson has three no-decisions but has held these Bucs’ bats to a .138 average in 67 career plate appearances. WAS, 5-4
RED SOX (-160, 8.5o20) at RANGERS (Thu., 5:05): Red Sox lefty David Price is coming off a couple of rough outings but has been sharper on the road so far with a 2-1 record and 2.29 ERA, helping Boston to the AL’s best record. Rangers counter with left-hander Mike Minor, who is up over 2.5 units despite the Rangers’ rough start to the season. BOS, 5-3
MARLINS (-105, 9o20) at REDS (Fri., 4:05): The Marlins go with left-hander Wei-Yin Chen, who is making just his second start after returning from an elbow injury. He allowed just one earned run in 5 1.3 innings against Colorado in his season debut. The Reds’ Sal Romano has just one win in six starts as Cincinnati has the Majors’ worst record. CIN, 6-5
ASTROS (-125, 7.5o20) at D’BACKS (Fri., 6:40): Arizona’s Robbie Ray was scheduled for this spot, but he left Sunday’s game with an oblique strain (reports say he is headed for the DL). Ray is up over 2 1/2 units so far for the team with the best record in the NL. Houston’s Gerrit Cole is just 2-1 despite his incredible stats in April. He struck out 12 A’s on Sunday in just 6 2/3 innings. HOU, 4-3
INDIANS (-110, 8.5u20) at YANKEES (Sat., 10:05): The Indians’ Trevor Bauer has a WHIP this season slightly over 1.00 and is coming off Monday’s home outing against the Rangers where he was nearly a two-dollar favorite. The Yankees need Sonny Gray to figure things out after a crummy start. He is coming off a Monday start at Houston as a +135 ‹dog. CLE, 4-3
TIGERS (-105, 9o20) at ROYALS (Sat., 1:15): The Royals’ Jason Hammel is down five units after five starts heading into the week despite a 3.38 ERA and was a two-dollar ‹dog on the road Monday at Boston. The Tigers go with Jordan Zimmermann, who had an ERA in the high 7’s heading into Monday’s start at home as a slight ‹dog to Tampa Bay. KC, 6-5
DODGERS (-250, 8) at PADRES (Sun., 1:10): Padres’ starter Eric Lauer will make his third big league start in not quite the same elevation as his first outing in Colorado. He is coming off a Monday start as a +150 road ‘dog at SF. The “Doyers” go with Clayton Kershaw who was scheduled to go Tuesday at Arizona as he came into the week with just a 1-4 record. LAD, 6-2
CUBS (-105, 8o20) at CARDINALS (Sun., 5:05): The Cubs’ Jon Lester is coming off a Monday home start against Colorado where he was a -175 favorite. He holds these Cards’ bats to around a .230 average in nearly 200 PAs. The Cards’ counter with Michael Wacha, who took a four-game win streak into his start at home on Tuesday against the White Sox. STL, 4-3.