Aug 25, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcher Andrew Cashner (34) throws during the first inning against the Chicago Cubs at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

San Diego Padres: Andrew Cashner Preview vs. Dodgers

Opening Night in the MLB is upon us as we’ll see the Los Angeles Dodgers (2-0) face the San Diego Padres (0-0) in tonight’s game. The Padres will send Andrew Cashner to the hill to face a very strong Dodger lineup that had great success in their first two games in Australia.

Cashner will try to shut down Los Angeles, a team that put up 10 runs against the Diamondbacks in their early two-game set. The 6’6” Cashner isn’t someone who generally relies on strikeouts, (128 K’s in 175 innings in 2013) but the Dodgers struck out 18 times in their first two games.

Last season, Cashner went 10-9 with an impressive 3.09 ERA. He earned the Opening Day start after allowing less than a hit per inning last year.

On the other side, Hyun-Jin Ryu will start for Los Angeles. The 27-year-old starter went five strong innings against Arizona in his first outing. He allowed just two hits over five innings and struck out five in his strong outing. He’ll look to be more effective in this start to get his 16th career win.

Clayton Kershaw was scheduled to face off against Cashner tonight, but he’ll be held out due to a back injury that the Dodgers clearly don’t want to take any chances with.

Cashner has had good success against Los Angeles hitters in a small sample-size of starts. Here are a few notable stats:

Yasiel Puig vs. Cashner: 1-9 (.111 average), 3 strikeouts

Hanley Ramirez vs. Cashner: 1-11 (.091 average)

Cashner vs. LAD on 9/22/13: 7 innings, 4 hits, 0 earned runs, 7 strikeouts, 110 pitches

It should be interesting to see how much run support the right-handed pitcher receives from his offense considering the Padres offense isn’t one that projects to be dominant. The lineup does have a few spots of optimism in it – both Jedd Gyorko and Yonder Alonso will look to lead the Padres’ offensive charge and put runs on the board by getting on base.

Expect Cashner to hit his spots early and often. Against a strong lineup like the Dodgers’, he’ll have to pitch effectively starting in the first inning. One poor decision to a hitter like Puig is all it takes for the game to be broken right open.

First pitch at PETCO Park is scheduled for 8:05 EST on ESPN.

Here’s the best news: no rain is expected throughout the game.

Let’s play ball!

Tags: Andrew Cashner Los Angeles Dodgers San Diego Padres

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