The San Diego Padres are set to face off against the Los Angeles Dodgers (in Texas) . The Padres' starter for the game has been up in the air for days, given the injuries to their front end starters. Tuesday morning, the Padres announced right hander Mike Clevinger will indeed be the one to get the ball for Game 1.
Clevinger, 29, was acquired by the Padres in front of the trade deadline from Cleveland and he's got the look of a possible postseason ace. From 2017-19, Clevinger posted a 2.96 ERA. In eight starts this season, Clevinger was 3-2 with a 3.02 ERA (149 ERA+), 1.15 WHIP and 40 strikeouts in 41 2/3 innings.
Since an excellent outing on Sept. 13 -- a two-hit shutout in seven innings on the front end of a doubleheader -- Clevinger only managed one inning pitched on Sept. 23, due to an elbow strain. He threw 12 pitches in that outing, but has been said to be doing well in "high intensity" bullpen sessions in the past several days.
The Padres still aren't at full strength in the rotation, as Cy Young contender Dinelson Lamet remains injured with biceps tightness and has been left off the NLDS roster.
That would leave the Padres with a best-of-five NLDS rotation of Clevinger, Chris Paddack, Zach Davies and two question marks. Perhaps the Padres start Craig Stammen and go with a bullpen game in Game 4 just like they did in Game 3 of the Wild Card Series. Clevinger coming back on short rest for Game 5 is doable as long as he can stay healthy, but it's a gamble.
Also of note: Prospect Ryan Weathers is on the NLDS roster. He hasn't yet made his MLB debut. Here's what RJ Anderson had on him before the season:
The Padres drafted Ryan Weathers at No. 7 in 2018. That he's down here instead of in the top five speaks mostly to the system's high quality, and slightly to his profile. Unlike your standard prep arm drafted in the top 10, Weathers's appeal is his polish and floor -- as opposed to raw stuff and ceiling. The upshot here is a three-pitch lefty with good command who jets through the system as quickly as announcers mention his father, longtime big-league reliever David.
Would they actually start him in a playoff game for his MLB debut? You never know.
As for Lamet, if he somehow gets himself ready to start a game, he could replace someone -- but that someone would then be ineligible for the NLCS roster, should the Padres win. It would also require them to say that someone is injured. The hunch here is Lamet is far from ready, otherwise they would have rostered him.
For now, though, the Padres have good news with Clevinger getting the ball in Game 1.