The San Diego Padres hadn’t been to the playoffs since 2006, so I was really pleased that they posted a remarkable 37-23 record in the C-19 shortened season and earned a spot against the St. Louis Cardinals in a NL Wildcard, best-of-three series. The Padres lost their two pitching aces, Dinelson Lamet and Mike Clevinger, to injury immediately prior to the competition, a HUGE blow! But the Padres improbably won the series and advanced to the NL Division Series, to face the Los Angeles Dodger$ in a best-of-five series beginning tomorrow, Tuesday, October 6. Unfortunately, the game starts at 9:38 PM ET. Let’s briefly recap the games against the Cardinals and preview the matchup with the Dodger$
San Diego Padres vs. St. Louis Cardinals, NL Wildcard Series @ Petco Park, San Diego
Game 1 – Wednesday, September 30
With pitching aces, Lamet and Clevinger on the bench, Chris Paddack got the nod for the Padres. The young pitcher had control problems all season long and his troubles continued into this game, giving up 6 runs in 2 1/3 innings. The Padres’ big bats never got going. The futility of the evening was exemplified by rookie Jake Cronenworth’s blockhead base-running mistake. Only 8 hits for the Pads.
Final score: Cardinals 7, Padres 4
Game 2 – Thursday, October 1
Pitcher Zach Davies started for the Padres, but was ineffectual and only lasted two innings. In the bottom of the 6th, with the Cards leading 6-2, Fernando Tatis Jr. hit a three-run dinger followed by a solo shot by Manny Machado. Tie score! The onslaught continued with Tatis hitting another HR and Wil Myers adding two more. Fifteen hits for the Pads!
Final score: Padres 11, Cardinals 9
Game 3 – Friday, October 2
The Cardinals saved their ace pitcher, Jack Flaherty, for the decisive rubber game. Meanwhile, the Padres started reliever, Craig Stammen, and would follow with 8 other relievers. Eric Hosmer finally got to Flaherty in the 5th with a double that scored Tatis. The Padres pieced together a couple of runs with clutch hitting, good base-running, and a walked-in run. Cronenworth then redeemed his bonehead base-running error in Game 1 with a solo HR. Eight hits for the Padres. A masterful shutout performance by the relief committee.
Final score: Padres 4, Cardinals 0
In the series, Tommy Pham (6 hits), Cronenworth (5), Tatis Jr. (5), Myers (4), and Jurikson Profar (4) all came to play. Hosmer (2 hits), Machado (2), Trent Grisham (0), and Austin Nola (0) disappointed.
San Diego Padres vs. Los Angeles Dodger$, NL Division Series, Game 1, Tuesday, October 6 @ Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas
We don’t know if either Lamet or Clevinger will be available for this series against arguably the best team in MLB. It’s next to impossible to expect Paddack, Davies, and the relief committee to compete with the Dodger$ exceptional staff (MLB-leading 3.02 team ERA). The Dodger$ also know how to score runs (MLB-leading 349), but the Padres aren’t far behind (325). For the Padres to have a chance, ALL the hitters need to bring their A game. Hosmer, Machado, Grisham, and Nola need to WAKE UP!
In the article below, baseball writer, Mark Feinsand, compares the two clubs by position and the Dodger$ definitely do have an advantage on paper.
Padres-Dodgers position-by-position analysis