The Padres, fresh off their first playoff series win in 22 years, will open their series with the Dodgers on Tuesday in Arlington, Texas. Each of the four divisional-round series are being played at a neutral site, with the teams alternating home/away with the usual 2-2-1 format.
All of the pressure in this series is on Dave Roberts and his Dodgers, who haven’t won a World Series together despite fielding some very talented teams. Last year, it was the Nationals who took them out in this round, so advancing is everything.
The Dodgers posted a 43-17 record in the shortened 2020 year, a sign that they didn’t take last year’s loss too hard. They knew it had to be business as usual and the win percentage they finished with during a year like this is wildly impressive. The 162-game expectation from it would make them a historically great team.
San Diego was able to get past the Cardinals, and now the hope will be to make it even farther. The 37-win Padres got hot at the perfect time and will hope to continue like that.
Padres Aiming for 1-0 Beginning
It’s unclear who their starting pitcher will be, but it starts with offense here. Fernando Tatis Jr. has been crushing moonshots all season long, while Wil Myers and Manny Machado have followed his lead. Add in Eric Hosmer, and you’ve got another player that can get hot at the plate.
Most impressive about this team is that Hosmer (30) is the oldest player in the starting lineup. They’re filled with young, talented hitters, a sign that they could just be getting started with the first of many playoff appearances this year. And their bullpen has come through as needed.
Using a different pitcher in every inning against the Cardinals in Game 3, they managed to pull off a shutout, something you will hardly ever see under those circumstances. And that will be a major key if they want to advance. With it being unclear if Lamet or Clevinger will return, they have to win with the guys that are healthy.
The Journey Begins
LA was never truly under pressure last round, disposing of the Brewers handily. And now they have their first test in the hot-hitting San Diego Padres. Working in their favor is their fantastic starting pitching and two former MVP’s leading the offense.
It was a struggle for Cody Bellinger this year, but he can turn it in when the team needs it. They’ve also got Mookie Betts, who has had a sensational first year in LA. When he gets hot, he can be as good as any player in all of baseball. It was a massive addition for the franchise.
They’ll send Walker Buehler to the mound for the series opener. In eight starts, he went 1-0 with a 3.44 ERA. Buehler lasted 36 2/3 innings, striking out 42 and walking 11.
Padres Steal Game 1
It will vary on who they start, but the Padres have several great options to pick from. The offense will come through for them in this one.
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