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LAD@LAA: Haren tosses four scoreless frames vs. Halos

SAN DIEGO -- On Sunday, the Dodgers saw the power arm of Padres right-handed pitcher Andrew Cashner.

In the series finale today against the Dodgers, they'll get another one -- this time in Tyson Ross.

While Cashner relied heavily on a his two-seam fastball that induced seven ground-ball outs, Ross will likely lean heavily on his plus slider, a pitch that missed a lot of bats in 2013 -- especially in the second half.

"It's one of the best in the National League," said Padres manager Bud Black.

Ross worked on refining the pitch in Spring Training, picking different times to use it and not becoming so reliant on it.

"I think I can work the sequences a little better to keep guys off the slider," he said. "I think guys are starting to look out over the plate [for the slider] with two strikes. ... So that's going to open up some heaters in. I think that I can use that to my advantage, sort of altering my attack."

Cashner and Tuesday starter Ian Kennedy have allowed a combined four earned runs in 11 innings heading into Wednesday's game.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers will start Dan Haren, the fourth starter in a rotation that has already been victimized by injuries to Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Josh Beckett and Hyun-Jin Ryu.

Haren is believed healthy, having made his customary between-starts bullpen session on Monday, but he is coming off a shellacking in exhibition game in Anaheim on Saturday, when he allowed six runs in two innings. He was held to two innings because this start comes up only four days after that game, instead of the normal five.

It will be Haren's regular-season debut as a Dodger. Pitching for Washington last year, Haren lost his only start against San Diego, allowing seven runs in five innings. He has made 15 career starts against the Padres, and he's 5-4 with a 3.84 ERA.

Although Thursday is a day off, the Dodgers could benefit from Haren pitching deeper into the game than Greinke's five innings Tuesday. Manager Don Mattingly used five relievers to pick up the final four innings.

Dodgers: Dealing with the shift

The Padres are deploying a defensive shift when they have a right-handed pitcher facing Dodgers left-handed pull hitters Adrian Gonzalez and Andre Ethier.

"We've got guys that pull on the ground and hit in the air the other way," said Mattingly. "[Tony] La Russa used to do it to me and take away the middle. It's frustrating -- you hit a line drive and the guy is standing there.

"But you've just got to hit. The swing dictates what you do defensively. The spray charts, they're like a pie chart and they show where you hit the ball on the ground and in the air. You play the percentages."

Mattingly said the Dodgers utilize the data more now than when he arrived with Joe Torre in 2008.

"In New York, I'd do the defense and we played the charts," he said. "Those things don't lie. The mechanics of the swing tell you where the ball goes. I trust them."

Padres: Preparing for a homecoming

The calls and text messages for tickets have already started -- and Yasmani Grandal, the Padres' catcher, couldn't be happier about it.

Grandal will return to his hometown, Miami, on Friday when the Padres open a three-game series against the Marlins. Grandal is from nearby Miami Springs, where he attended Miami Springs High. He also played at the University of Miami.

So what's Grandal expecting for friends and family this weekend?

"Last year, I think I had 150 people there," Grandal said. "I think there could be between 150 and 180 people this weekend."

Grandal is trying to have the baseball team from his high school attend one of the weekend games at Marlins Park.

Grandal got his first start of the season on Tuesday against the Dodgers.

Worth noting

• Yasiel Puig's two-run homer in the first inning Tuesday gave him six home runs and 12 RBIs in 15 games against the Padres.

• Greinke is 8-1 with a 1.70 ERA over his last 13 starts dating back to July 30 of last season.

• Zach Lee, one of the top Dodgers' pitching prospects, was assigned to Triple-A Albuquerque.

• Seth Smith's home run off Greinke tied Smith with Gonzalez in 2010, Brian Giles in 2005 and Fred McGriff in 1992 as the only Padres to hit home runs in back-to-back days in the first two team games of a season.

• The Padres have lost eight of the last 10 games they've played against the Dodgers.

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