The Dodgers are heading down the San Diego Freeway to start a familiar National League West showdown against the Padres at Petco Park, and when the teams get ready to play in Tuesday's 3:40 p.m. PT series opener, they'll have similar goals in mind.
Both goals will begin on the pitcher's mound, where both starters are looking for quick reversals of fortune from their respective season-opening outings.
For the Dodgers, it will be veteran right-hander Josh Beckett looking to improve.
Beckett struggled in his first start of the year. He gave up five runs in six innings against the defending World Series champion Giants in San Francisco, allowing home runs to Pablo Sandoval and Hunter Pence. Beckett was close to being better, having been ahead in the count against all six batters who got hits off of him. Only three of the runs he allowed were earned.
"I made some pitches when I needed to, and didn't make some when I needed to," Beckett said. "On Sandoval, I tried to go up there and the video showed I got it up, and I don't know if he was looking for it, but he hit it good. Overall, I felt I was getting on top of the ball better today than the last couple spring starts."
On the other side of the diamond, Padres lefty Clayton Richard will be in a similar situation. He's looking to rebound from his 2013 debut, when he gave up three homers and seven earned runs on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings against the Mets.
Richard led the NL in home runs allowed last year with 31, so it's something that he'll need to improve upon to get where he -- and the Padres -- want to go this season.
"When you're not able to command down in the zone without your best stuff, it's a bad night," Richard said. "My last couple of side [sessions], I felt good. My last outing [March 29], I felt good. Then, I got out there tonight and it wasn't there."
Dodgers: Kemp due to bust out?
Slugger Matt Kemp has gotten off to a slow start at the plate this season, but he has done very well in his career against Richard. Entering Tuesday's game, Kemp is batting .375 (12-for-32) against the Padres left-hander with two home runs, seven RBIs, four doubles, a walk and a 1.081 on-base-plus-slugging percentage.
• Infielder Nick Punto is 5-for-8 (.625) against Richard in his career, although all five hits have been singles.
• Beckett has a career 3.80 ERA on five days' rest, and is 5-2 in his career against the Padres, with a 2.09 ERA.
Padres: Gyorko already making history
Infielder Jedd Gyorko, who made his Major League debut on Monday to open the season, was the only Padres player to record a hit in all three games of the season-opening series against the Mets, going 1-for-4 in each game. According to Elias Sports Bureau, Gyorko is the third rookie in Padres history to hit safely in each of the team's first three games of a season. The others to do so were Juan Bonilla (1981) and Benito Santiago (1987).
• San Diego is 22-22 all-time in the first home game of the season. Tuesday marks the second consecutive and third overall time in the last five seasons that the Padres have faced the Dodgers in their home opener.
• Beckett has handled Padres slugger Carlos Quentin in their meetings so far. Quentin is 2-for-11 (.182) against Beckett, with no walks and five strikeouts, although both hits were doubles.
• Richard has done quite well against Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier, who is batting a career .143 (4-for-28) against the southpaw.