The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres played 30 innings of baseball this weekend and were separated by two runs or less in all but three innings. Friday’s game lasted 12 innings and featured 17 pitches and four walks. Saturday’s game ended in a tie at scoring position through a dive by Mookie Betts. Sunday’s game was not decided until the bottom of the eighth inning. The Dodgers won 2 of 3 games, but the Padres won the series finale, ending a seven-game losing streak against them.
The Dodgers, who won Sunday, stand at 13-3, the best record in the Major Leagues, 3½ games better than the Padres in the National League West. But the teams meet again in four days at Dodger Stadium to begin a four-game series.
It’s a good preview for many others – both teams playing with a lot of energy, playing the game the way it should be played, Padres manager Jace Tingler said. There is a lot of emotion, it draws energy from the fans and beats the opposite of that. I know it’s very easy for guys who play there to get up and leave. The stadium is full of adrenaline, and you’re almost locked in.
Below is what you can take away from this first series that exceeded expectations.
Closed games in large numbers Trevor Bauer slapped his chest and growled as he walked back to the Dodgers’ dugout in the bottom of the sixth inning Sunday. He outhit Fernando Tatis Jr. at 97 mph and missed another stellar ball that lowered his ERA to 2.42 and raised his strikeout count to an NL-best 36. The six starting pitchers in this series – Bauer, Blake Snell, Clayton Kershaw, Yu Darvish, Walker Buehler and Ryan Weathers – combined for a 1.60 ERA over the weekend, which is no big surprise. These could be two of the best starting teams in baseball. This means we will likely see these close, intense games throughout the year.
When Snell runs into Bauer again, he has a request.
The farmer, he digs a lot on that hill, Snell said. Oh, my God. It looked like something was broken on the hill. It was just the biggest hole. Well, Bauer, we have to work on that. I know you have to go up the hill or something, but my leg hurt.
Machado still has the pawn It’s a running gag that became famous and now it’s just ridiculous ….. Bauer can’t take on Manny Machado. No, seriously. Machado batted .588/.667/1.412 in 21 career appearances against Bauer and hit two singles against him that hit over 104 mph. Bauer had a full count against Machado in the fourth, then got rid of Will Smith and threw an up-and-down fastball past the glove of Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner. Machado had nine hits in 12 at-bats that ended with a fastball from Bauer, including five for extra bases. It was a fun trend. In the context of this rivalry, that’s a problem.
I got it in the park, so I’m going in the right direction.
Tatis is still sorting it out The start of this series coincided with Tatis’ return with a shoulder subluxation. At the end it was clear that Tatis was not quite fit yet. The question is whether this is a common problem that occurs to players over the course of a long season and only worsens at the beginning of the season, or whether this sensitive left shoulder is actually affecting his production. On Friday, Tatis hit a 410-foot home run to center field, but he went just 0-for-12 with six strikeouts and a walk the rest of the game. He added two errors on Friday – seven in the first six games – and one more on Sunday, were it not for Eric Hosmer’s good pick at first base.
Tatis also drew a walk, hit a hard drive and seemingly hit a potential home run on a hanging deflection ball in the final out of the series. Prior to Saturday’s game, Tatis downplayed the severity of his shoulder problem and expressed confidence in his ability to keep it under control for the next six months.
Tatis said I was doing very well. I don’t think it’s something I’ll be bothered with for the rest of the year.
Clayton Kershaw thinks Jurickson Profar is intentionally trying to get the interference call, and the two argue all over the field.
Love is not lost You know he gets hot when Kershaw swears. On Saturday, Kershaw made an exception: Jurickson Profar hit a fastball with two pitches left, hit the glove of Austin Barnes and ended up at first base for obstructing the catcher. It’s the bulls… Swing! shouted Kershaw as he and Profar ran back and forth across the field. The night before, he was hit by Dennis Santana and Jorge Mateo on a pitch in the 10th. Inning struck, leaving both benches empty. There were no other problems on Sunday, but there were still fireworks. There will be more this season. Count on it.
Incoming Hosmer: Perhaps the most encouraging sign for the Padres last year was Eric Hosmer, who hit .287/.333/.517 and looked much more like an elite first baseman than in his Kansas City Royals days. The start of this season shows that these 2020 numbers may not be the result of a small sample size. Hosmer has a .986 OPS in his first 68 appearances this season. On Friday, he hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning. On Sunday, he hit a two-out single in the eighth.
Hawes is, in my opinion, as good as anyone in the game in those moments, Tingler said, and I think a big part of that is he wants those innings, he wants those moments when the game is on the line and things like that. He’s almost completely in the game, as far as delivery is concerned.
The address must be deleted. The Padres could have won Friday’s game if they hadn’t committed three errors that led to their 16th place finish in the league. Saturday’s game could have been very different if Trent Grisham had read the defense behind him well on Machado’s single in the sixth inning and allowed him to score from second base instead of advancing a single. The margin for error against the Dodgers is too small to make those mistakes.
We just realize we have to play good baseball against these guys, Hosmer said. We can’t afford mistakes, we can’t give them extra bases. We need to lock in our crease defensively. We have to make sure we play good baseball. They’ve certainly proven it in this series, I think they’ve also proven it in the playoffs. We know we have to be at our best to beat these guys.
Required edge: The Dodgers spent the season not wanting to stretch the league, which was the deciding factor in their surprise attempt to contract Bauer. During spring training, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts continued to preach the importance of staying in the moment and staying ahead of the curve in a season that can often seem monotonous – especially with such highly ranked teams. The Dodgers, who have a plus-38 point differential, had no trouble staying focused early in the game. But the presence of the Padres can only help them during the summer. Los Angeles is on its way to 132 wins, and in some ways, reality is not far off.
Roberts dismissed the Padres’ presence as a motivating factor, consistent with the Dodgers’ apparent intent to downplay this rivalry. But he admitted the Padres are a hungry bunch.
I think they looked at us and they want to crush us in the National League West, and they have talent, they can pitch, Roberts said. There’s a lot of talent there.