Dodgers fans have been subtly looking over their shoulder for the last couple of weeks now. While Los Angele stumbles a bit towards the finish line, one NL West team is hitting their stride at the right time.
As it turns out, that NL West team is the one team that MLB insider Buster Olney thinks can take the Dodgers down. We chatted with Buster last week about the challenges Los Angeles faces, and he thinks the team’s route to the World Series will go through San Diego.
The Padres. The standings say that, the numbers say that. The Dodgers are number 1 in run differential as we speak, the Padres are 2. The Padres’ upgrades, basically turning over 1/3rd of their roster at the deadline…that draws them closer. And on top of that, it’s almost certain that if the Dodgers and Padres play, it is going to be in a best of 5 division series. And that is something that if you’re the Padres you’re glad to be catching them in a series that’s not extended.
The Padres are red-hot, winning 11 of their last 13 games. San Diego has also made things pretty tight in the NL West, cutting the Dodgers lead to just 2.5 games going into a pivotal series. Olney went on to express the concern that the Padres could carry on their hot streak.
They certainly have the talent. If a Tatis Jr, a Machado, one of those guys gets hot and you pull out a game, maybe you beat Clayton Kershaw. You win a matchup maybe you didn’t think you were going to, in a five-game series anything can happen.
In a season with very strange rules and conditions as it is, seeing a team like the Padres make a run wouldn’t be a surprise at all. The Dodgers would likely have to face off against three very good Padres pitchers in a five-game set. They would also need to stop an offense that has put up second-most runs in all of baseball.
The Dodgers are still the favorites, but be on the lookout.