Rich Hill has rough Padres debut, Dodgers win 8-2

Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Rich Hill had a rough start in his Padres debut as the Dodgers used their power to carry them to a victory on Sunday Night Baseball.

As the Dodgers and Padres squared off in the third game of four on Sunday Night Baseball, each team’s starting pitcher had very different outings. Rich Hill, who made his Padres debut, gave up 6 ER in just three innings. Meanwhile, Lance Lynn went 6 innings and allowed just 1 ER while striking out 6 batters. This allowed the Dodgers to grab an early 6-0 lead as they never looked back and cruised to an 8-2 victory behind some power and impressive pitching.

Here are three takeaways from the game:

Padres can’t figure out Lance Lynn

Lance Lynn, who the Dodgers acquired before the 2023 trade deadline, had been off to a rough season before joining the club. However, in typical Dodger fashion, he has since looked much improved. Los Angeles just seems to have a knack for recognizing talent within pitchers and teaching them how to use it to the fullest potential. In his 2 starts with the team thus far, he has thrown 13 innings and allowed just 4 ER. This includes his impressive showing against the Padres, as he struck out 6 batters in just as many innings of work. He was able to hold things down for the Dodgers as their offense took care of the rest and put the game out of reach before long. Padre hitters were able to come up with just 4 hits off of Lynn, with Gary Sánchez hitting a solo home run that would be the only run Lynn allowed. The Padre offense will have to do a better job at getting ahead on tomorrow’s starter for the Dodgers, Tony Gonsolin, if they wish to escape the series with a 2-2 split.

The big 3 goes completely hitless

Arguably the three biggest names on the San Diego Padres roster were unable to show up at all for the team on Sunday evening. Juan Soto, Fernando Tatis Jr., and Manny Machado each went hitless at the plate and combined for a staggering 0-11 in the game. When playing a team with an offense as dangerous as the Dodgers is, things are hard enough. If you add a severe lack of production from your star players into the mix as well, it becomes virtually impossible to come up with victories in these types of games. The only 2 runs that the Padres were able to come up with were courtesy of solo home runs by Gary Sánchez and Jake Cronenworth. The “big three” along with shortstop Xander Bogaerts, another big money free agent signing for the Padres this past winter, need to be able to step up in important divisional games and provide some run support for the team. While things will not be easy regardless in any game where your starting pitcher allows 6 runs, the lack of production from the heart of the lineup is nonetheless unsettling for fans who watch on anxiously as the team pushes for a postseason spot.

Pedro Avila provides more solid innings

After a solid starting appearance in a Padre victory against the Colorado Rockies on the first of the month, Pedro Avila perhaps made his case for more innings going forward. While there weren’t many positives at all for the Padres in Sunday’s game, one bright spot was the depth and relief work that Avila was able to provide after Rich Hill’s start ended shortly. Avila was able to pitch the next 4.2 innings behind Hill while allowing only 1 run and striking out 7 batters. He ended up throwing 90 pitches in relief (compared to Hill’s 77) and did not allow the Dodgers lead to swell much further. Perhaps more importantly, he allowed the team to keep the bullpen fresher for future games. While these types of innings are ones that will be overlooked by upset fans over the outcome of the game, Avila’s lack of innings this year might begin to become further questioned as he has more and more solid appearances. He has only given the Padres more to think about going forward as they decide which arms will become the priority down the stretch of the season. With his ERA sitting at 1.32 and his strikeout rate at an impressive mark, San Diego will have no choice but to consider throwing him into the mix much more often.

The Padres will have a chance to leave the series with a split on Monday afternoon as Seth Lugo will take on Tony Gonsolin in another important divisional game.

First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. PT