Last season, the San Diego Padres did everything they could to reach the 2020 playoffs and compete for a title after years of wallowing at the bottom of the division. The Dodgers quickly put them back in their place during the National League Division Series en route to a title.
A new season means new opportunities for the two teams to meet up… and there have been plenty thus far.
Seven out of the 19 scheduled games have already been played with San Diego holding the season series lead 4-3. Each game has been actioned pack with as much excitement as any baseball fan could want.
Since the dust has settled a bit after another wild weekend, here’s what we’ve learned from the two series so far.
1. The Hype Has Been Real
Whether you’re at a game in person or enjoying from the comfort of your home, there’s no denying the energy and tension in the air. One could even say it has the same feel as a playoff game. We all knew these two teams were going to have it out for each other this season, but things have escalated rather quickly.
Dodgers-Padres this year
• G1: benches clear, 12th inning HR by Seager
• G2: Kershaw-Profar beef, Mookie’s catch
• G3: 8th-inning comeback by SD
• G4: game-winner in 8th by SD
• G5: Tatis 2 HR
• G6: Tatis trolls Bauer, LA wins 5-4
• G7: 6-run comeback, GW run in 11th pic.twitter.com/JMoOL96hcY
— Danny Vietti (@DannyVietti) April 26, 2021
Between the constant chirping, showboating, and endless big moments, these games have just gotten much more interesting. While the energy could die out over the next couple months between their next series, or it could intensify as October draws near.
2. No Lead is Safe
So far three games have been decided by 2 runs or fewer and another by three. Only two games have been recorded where either team has run away with the lead.
That should say a lot about how stubborn each team is about losing, OR just how bad the Dodgers’ bullpen has been.
The Dodger bullpen has allowed 7 runs in this game (so far). It is far from a strength for LA.
— Clint Pasillas (FRG) (@realFRG) April 26, 2021
In 23 innings against San Diego, the pen has allowed a whopping 20 runs (4 unearned) while also allowing 18 free passes. Take Sunday night’s game as an example. The Dodgers had a 7-1 lead that was chipped away until the game was all tied up and sent into extra innings, which ultimately led to another loss. That kind of production isn’t going to cut it, especially against a deep Padres lineup.
Where’s Russell Martin when you need him?!
3. DJ Peters May Not Belong
While he wasn’t a part of the first series against San Diego, his painful lack of production just stands out. The piling up of injuries has forced him into big league action and early results have not been pretty to say the least. In 5 at-bats, he has no hits and 4 strikeouts, including one with bases loaded in the 10th inning of Sunday’s loss.
CLUTCH. Onto the 11th. ? pic.twitter.com/VAo0tUnN5Q
— MLB (@MLB) April 26, 2021
Peters’ strikeout problem is no secret, yet it still doesn’t make it any less frustrating to just throw away at-bats like that. If he can’t make consistent contact, what value does he really have? Even if his defense was superb, no player can stick in the Majors without being able to hit. From what he’s shown so far, he’s not ready for the bright lights of Dodger Stadium, maybe he will never be.
In all fairness, of course, we’re reacting to a very small sample size here.
While it’s only April, every single game between these two ball clubs has had a must win feeling. I’m sure at this point it’s safe to say that it has finally become a rivalry, one that will be put on hold until they see each other again in late June. Hopefully next time the Dodgers will be much healthier to make it much more interesting.