The Southern California pairing of the San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers is a rivalry. The Padres see it as their No. 1 rivalry. The Dodgers do not.

Historically, dating back to their days in New York, the Dodgers justifiably see the San Francisco Giants as their chief rival. For some reason, this became an issue with the Padres last season.

“We like winning games against them,” shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. said last year after an early-season victory against the Dodgers, a reaction that caught Dodgers manager Dave Roberts by surprise when he replied: “It’s one game.”

The Padres and Dodgers will renew their rivalry Friday in San Diego, the opener of a three-game weekend set.

The Dodgers finished with a 12-7 record against the Padres last season while unsuccessfully and bitterly chasing the Giants to the National League West title. Meanwhile, after a strong start against the Dodgers last year, the Padres faded badly down the stretch.

In Friday night’s first round, left-hander Julio Urias (0-1, 3.86 ERA) will start for the Dodgers against Padres’ right-hander Nick Martinez (0-1, 4.50 ERA). Both will be making their third starts of the season.

Urias needs no introduction. The 25-year-old was 20-3 with a 2.96 ERA and a 1.018 WHIP in 32 starts in 2021. He had 195 strikeouts in 185 2/3 innings. Martinez, 31, meanwhile, signed with the Padres just before spring training after spending the past four seasons in Japan.

While Martinez has yet to face the Dodgers in his career, Urias has had mixed results against the Padres.

Overall, Urias has a 3-1 lifetime record against the Padres with a 2.63 ERA, a 0.956 WHIP and a .181 opponent’s batting average in 11 appearances (six starts). In three starts during the 2021 season, Urias posted a 2-1 record with a 3.38 ERA. But in two starts at Petco Park, Urias was 1-1 with a 6.00 ERA — giving up six runs on seven hits and six walks with nine strikeouts in nine innings.

Urias’ first two starts this season has been poles apart. In his first outing at Colorado, he gave up six runs (three earned) on six hits and two walks in just two innings.

His velocity was down 2 1/2 mph, prompting Urias to say through an interpreter: “I could throw 100 and the results would have been the same because the execution was poor.” Roberts agreed.

“He just didn’t seem in sync from pitch one,” Roberts said. “I just saw him not really commanding anything.”

But in his most recent start against Cincinnati, Urias allowed one hit and one walk with five strikeouts in five scoreless innings.

With Mike Clevinger (knee) expected to soon return to the Padres and rookie MacKenzie Gore pitching well (1.74 ERA in two starts), Martinez could be pitching to save his spot in the Padres’ rotation.

“The four seasons in Japan did a lot for Nick,” said Padres manager Bob Melvin. “His stuff is sharper and his confidence has grown.”

–Field Level Media