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Dodgers: Dave Roberts’ Challenge to the Revamped San Diego Padres

Doc is ready to go to war in the NL West in 2021.



The National League West will, without a doubt, come down to just two teams. The Dodgers and Padres are expected to trade blows all season long, and it should be VERY fun to watch. The new-look Padres are coming for the crown but all roads to the title run through Los Angeles.

Everyone in baseball knows that the Padres got better this offseason. They swung a deal for Blake Snell that immediately made their rotation better and followed that up by adding in Yu Darvish as well. To further solidify the weakest part of their team, San Diego added Joe Musgrove in hopes of having a rotation that rivals that of the Dodgers. 

The offense was already there for San Diego and not much has changed from 2020. Fernando Tatis Jr and Manny Machado will still line up on the left side of the infield and hit at the top of the order. But the Dodgers also know that San Diego has improved, and the team that gave them trouble in the 2020 regular season seems to have closed the gap. Does that bother manager Dave Roberts? Not in the least bit. 

Doc was told by MLB reporter Mike Lupica that the Padres were coming for the Dodgers this year. Dave’s response?  “Bring it on.” 

Related: The Dodgers Might Not Get a Chance to Extend Corey Seager

Despite the vast improvements to the San Diego rotation, there is no reason to think the Dodgers can’t hold them off. You’re talking about a team that put up 23 runs on the Padres during the NLDS and allowed just 9. That’s not to say the Padres’ pitching was bad, but Los Angeles was just that much better. 

Despite the Dodgers not adding any major talent in the offseason so far, it’s still difficult to give the Padres the competitive edge. Some argue that they were able to close the gap to just 6 games by the end of the season, but that doesn’t hold up over the course of 162 games.

If the win percentages set by each team stayed the same for a whole season, the Padres would have finished close to 16 games back in the west. And don’t forget, the Dodgers might not be don’t making moves. They didn’t trade for Mookie Betts in 2020 until February 10th, leaving plenty of time for a huge deal to come around. 

Regardless of who you think comes out on top, the NL West is going to be so much fun to watch in 2021. 

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Written by Brook Smith

Brook is the Senior Editor of Dodgers Nation, with several years of experience in sports journalism. He is an avid Dodgers and Lakers fan, and can be spotted fairly often at Dodger Stadium and Staples Center.

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  1. The Padres have certainly achieved respectability, but they still must prove themselves over an entire season. How will they react to misfortunes like say, losing Tatis for a couple of months? To be honest, I wish the threat was from a strong Giant team. Disliking San Diego is unnatural.

    • William, I posted on another page that at the moment at least, Padres have a slight edge on the offensive side because Dodgers at the moment are short in the RH hitters box.

    • I always felt it would be great to have an era where both the dodgers and giants were winning championships. Before 1955 it was always the giants, then after that it was the dodgers and then neither, then the giants, and now the dodgers have won again. I think Zaidi is going to turn them around faster than people think, we may have that soon

  2. Rios is going to continue to hit a home run every 12 at bats. As he approaches 360 at bats and hits 30 home runs it will be tough to take him out of the lineup.

    • That won’t happen if because Dodgers are already LH heavy if he’s at 3rd, opponents will toss as many LHP at them as possible and the % might say Rios and the other LHB may not be as productive. Simply put. JT needs to be signed or another RHB to take his place. We don’t need to see an all LH hitting infield.

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