LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 14: Andre Ethier #16 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates with teammate Matt Kemp #27 after hitting a two run homerun in the sixth inning against the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium on July 14, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
The Dodgers open up a three-game series against the San Diego Padres on Monday.
Andrew Werner is 1-1 in two career major-league starts for the San Diego Padres. The Los Angeles Dodgers somehow seem to struggle against pitchers they've never faced before, and they counter with the inconsistent Joe Blanton on Monday evening in the series opener between the two teams.
These aren't good signs for the Dodgers, who need wins to keep keep their division title hopes alive and move into a wild-card spot. The Padres won't make it easy on their rivals to the north.
Blanton (9-12) is 1-3 as a Dodger -- he just got his first win in blue last week -- and has a high 6.67 ERA. The Dodgers have played nothing but close games over the past four, and seek a rare offensive explosion. Hanley Ramirez could be the man to lead that charge, as he has three home runs in his last six games.
Third baseman Luis Cruz is batting .294 and has a four-game hitting streak.
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