Padres make final run at Dodgers San Diego (76-69) at Los Angeles (77-69), 7:40 p.m. PT 09/14/2006 6:45 PM ET By Jeff Wallner / Special to MLB.com The most important series of the season for the Padres is set to begin on Friday night at Dodger Stadium. San Diego, which leads the National League Wild Card race, enters the four-game series with Los Angeles in second place in the NL West, trailing the Dodgers by just a half-game. Big crowds and a postseason-type atmosphere are expected to greet the Padres at Chavez Ravine. "It's going to be very intense," said Padres manager Bruce Bochy. "It's going to be a huge series, an important series." One of the major reasons the Padres are in a position to capture a division title is the success they've had against the Dodgers this season. San Diego is 11-3 against Los Angeles, including 5-0 at Dodger Stadium. "The way we've played against the Dodgers this season, we've put oursevles in a good position," said Padres second baseman Josh Barfield. "This series is going to be big." Since losing two of three to the Dodgers in late April, the Padres have beaten Los Angeles in 10 of 11 meetings, including a three-game sweep at PETCO Park in August. A marquee pitching matchup highlights the opening game of the series, with recently acquired lefty David Wells squaring off against a future Hall of Famer in Dodgers right-hander Greg Maddux. The four-game series marks the final meeting of the season for the two rivals. "It's a big opportunity for both clubs," said Bochy. Pitching matchup SD: LHP David Wells (2-3, 4.81 ERA) Wells is making his third start for the Padres since being acquired from the Red Sox. He is 1-1 with a 7.04 ERA in three career starts against the Dodgers. LA: RHP Greg Maddux (12-13, 4.38 ERA) Maddux has faced the Padres twice this season. He is 0-1 with a 5.73 ERA in two starts, both made while with the Cubs. Player to watch Wells is among a select group of Padres players who have participated in big series with playoff implications. He has pitched in seven World Series games and made 11 appearances in the ALCS. Wells is 1-1 with a 3.72 ERA in his World Series appearances for the Yankees and Blue Jays.