The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres played 30 innings of baseball over the weekend and were separated by two runs or less in all but three. Friday’s game lasted 12 innings and consisted of 17 pitchers and four draws. Saturday’s game ended with a diving catch from Mookie Betts with the equalizer in goal position. Sunday’s game was not decided until the end of the eighth. The Dodgers won 2 of 3, but the Padres won the series final to break their seven-game losing streak against them.
The Dodgers, winners of eight straight games before Sunday, have a 13-3 major league record, 3½ games better than the National Western League Padres. But the teams will meet in four days for the start of a four-game series at Dodger Stadium.
“It’s a good look for many more to come – both teams are playing with a ton of energy, playing the game the way it’s meant to be played,” said Jayce Tingler, the Padres manager. “There’s a ton of emotion, it’s great to tap into the energy of the fans, and just the back and forth battles. I know for guys who play it’s really easy to get up and go. start. There’s a ton of adrenaline … in the stadium, and you almost have to be locked up. “
Below is a look at what we can take away from an opening series that has kind of exceeded the hype to come.
Close games galore: Trevor Bauer hit his chest and roared as he returned to the Dodgers dugout at the end of the sixth inning on Sunday. He had just blown a 97 mph fastball past Fernando Tatis Jr., punctuating another stellar outing that lowered his ERA to 2.42 and increased his strikeout tally to a 36 in the NL lead. 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 this weekend, which isn’t much of a surprise. These are perhaps the two best starting spins in baseball. This means that we will probably continue to host these intense matches throughout the year.
If Snell meets Bauer again, he has a request.
“Bauer, he’s digging a lot in that mound,” Snell said. “Oh my god. It looked like something just crashed on top of the mound. It was just the biggest hole. So Bauer, we have to work on this. I know you have to grab the mound or whatever. thing, but man my foot was killing me. “
Machado still owns Bauer: It’s a running joke that has gained prominence and is now completely ridiculous – Bauer can’t get Manny Machado out. No seriously. Machado came to bat .588 / .667 / 1.412 in 21 career appearances against Bauer, then hit two singles against him who traveled over 104 km / h. Bauer had a full count against Machado in the fourth, then rocked Will Smith and threw a fastball that was smoked past the glove of Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner. Machado has nine 12-hitting hits that ended with a fastball from Bauer, five of them for extra goals. It was a weird quirk before. Now, in the context of this rivalry, that’s a problem.
Takeaway from Bauer?
“I kept it in the park,” he said, “so I’m going in the right direction”.
Tatis is still figuring it out: The start of this series coincided with Tatis’ return from a shoulder subluxation. By the end of it, it was clear that Tatis still wasn’t quite right. The question is whether these are the usual struggles that plague players over a long season that are only magnified at the start, or if that tender left shoulder is really affecting his production. Tatis hit a 410-foot home run to center court on Friday, but otherwise he was 0 for 12 with six strikeouts and one walk. He added two errors on Friday – giving him seven in his first six games – and would have had another on Sunday if it weren’t for a handsome pick by Eric Hosmer at first base.
Tatis also worked a walk, hit a hard drive and seemingly just under a potential home run on a hanging rupture ball in the series finale. Ahead of Saturday’s game, Tatis downplayed the severity of his shoulder problem and expressed confidence in his ability to deal with it over the next six months.
“It’s something that I can handle very well,” Tatis said. “I don’t think it will be something that will bother me for the rest of the year.”
Clayton Kershaw believes Jurickson Profar is intentionally trying to get an interference call from a receiver and the two engage in a screaming game on the field.
No love lost: You know it’s hot when Kershaw swears. On Saturday, Kershaw was the exception with the way Jurickson Profar swung late on a two-stroke fastball, making contact with Austin Barnes’ glove and being placed on first base due to receiver interference. “It’s a bull – swing!” Kershaw screamed as he and Profar yelled back and forth across the pitch. A night earlier, Dennis Santana and Jorge Mateo launched into a 10th inning shot, causing both benches to empty. Sunday didn’t provide more animosity, but it was ready for the fireworks nonetheless. There will be more of the same this season. Count on that.
Hosmer is coming big: Perhaps the most encouraging sign from the Padres last year came in the form of Eric Hosmer, who hit .287 / .333 / .517 and looked a lot more like the elite first baseman of his Royals days. of Kansas City. The start of this season shows that these 2020 numbers may not be the result of the small sample sizes. Hosmer wears an OPS of .986 in his first 68 home plate appearances this season. He scored a two-game tie in the ninth on Friday. On Sunday, he hit the simple winner with two outs in the eighth.
“Hos is, in my opinion, as good as anyone in the game at these times,” Tingler said, “and I think a big part of that is that he wants those at-bats, he wants those moments when the game is in play. and things like that. He’s as good as anyone in the game at delivering them. “
The padres must clean it: The Padres could have won Friday’s game without three errors, bringing their Major League lead tally to 16. Saturday’s game could have been completely different if Trent Grisham had correctly read the defense behind him on the singles match. Machado’s sixth inning, which would have allowed him to score from second instead of advancing only one base. The margin of error against the Dodgers is too small to make such mistakes.
“We just understand that we have to play good baseball against these guys,” Hosmer said. “We can’t afford to let go of the mistakes, we can’t afford to give them extra bases. We just have to lock ourselves in, defensively, on the basepaths. We have to make sure we play well at the base. baseball. the series has definitely proven that; I think they have proven that in the playoffs as well. We know we have to be in top form to beat these guys. “
A necessary advantage: The Dodgers have spent the offseason motivated by a desire not to be stale after a championship, a factor in their surprising effort to sign Bauer. During spring training, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts constantly preached the importance of staying in the moment and maintaining an advantage throughout a season that can often seem monotonous, especially for teams. also accomplished. The Dodgers, who punctuate the sport with a plus-38 point differential, clearly had no problem staying focused early on. But the presence of the Padres could only help them all summer. LA is on a 132-win streak, and reality doesn’t seem very far from that.
Roberts dismissed the Padres ‘presence as a motivator, consistent with the Dodgers’ clear intention to downplay this rivalry. But he admitted that the Padres are “a hungry bunch”.
“I think they looked at us and kind of want to beat us in National League West, and they’re talented, they can pitch,” said Roberts. “Lots of talent there.”