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Dodgers vs. Padres game preview: L.A. looks to inch closer in wild card Race

The Dodgers are 9-6 against the Padres this season, including 4-2 at Petco Park.

Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESS - Presswire

The Los Angeles Dodgers have some ground to make up in the race for the National League wild card, and desperately need wins as they open a three-game series against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. The Dodgers trail the St. Louis Cardinals by 3½ games for the second wild card spot in the National League

Josh Beckett gets the start for the series opener for the Dodgers, who are 9-6 against Padres this season, including 4-2 at Petco Park. Beckett is 1-2 with a 3.45 ERA in five starts since joining the Dodgers on Aug. 25, with 26 strikeouts and nine walks in 31 innings.

Adrian Gonzalez returns to San Diego for the first time since getting traded by the Padres to the Boston Red Sox after the 2010 campaign. Gonzalez played three games against the Padres last season, hitting .571 (8-for-14) with a double, but those games were at Fenway Park. Gonzalez hit two home runs Sunday night against the Cincinnati Reds to snap a 25-game, 115-plate-appearance streak without a long ball.

Edinson Volquez starts for the Padres, his fifth start against the Dodgers this season. Volquez, who started and lost against the Dodgers on Opening Day on Apr. 5 in San Diego, is 0-2 with a 6.30 ERA against Los Angeles this season, and has pitched exactly five innings in all four starts.

The Padres since the beginning of July are 44-30, just one game back of the San Francisco Giants for the best record in the National League West during that span. Chase Headley has led the charge, as the third baseman has hit .300/.372/.576 since the All-Star break with 21 home runs and 66 RBI in 66 games.

For more news and notes on Dodgers baseball, be sure to read True Blue LA.