The Dodgers and Padres meeting in the playoffs seemed destined to happen in 2020, a kind of cementing of a new rivalry (at least temporarily) in the NL West.
The Boys In Blue managed to get the all important first win in the five-game series, scrapping together five runs in a 5-1 win in Game 1.
Walker Buehler took the mound with an unknown pitch count due to his blister, but his stuff looked about normal for the most part.
He allowed a single and stolen base in the 1st, but escaped the inning unscathed. Things then got unhinged for a bit in the 2nd as he walked the bases loaded with just one out, but then rebounded with back-to-back strikeouts to escape potential disaster. Still, it was clear he didn’t have it early.
After cruising through a 1-2-3 frame in the 3rd, he finally caved a bit in the 4th. A one-out walk to Wil Myers resulted in a two-out steal to get into scoring position, which was cashed in with an Austin Nola single for the game’s first run to make it 1-0.
Buehler wasn’t sharp at all tonight, laboring through 95 pitches in four innings, but he allowed just the one run on two hits and four walks with eight strikeouts.
Mike Clevinger was a question mark to even participate in the series due to an elbow injury, but he looked healthy initially. Granted, there were walks to Corey Seager and Max Muncy in the 1st, but everything looked normal. Unfortunately, after a long wait on the bench, two pitches into the 2nd and one 91 mph fastball to Cody Bellinger led to Clevinger exiting with what seemed like his arm injury flaring up again.
Pierce Johnson took over in the 2nd in what effectively turned into a pen game, and he got four outs while only allowing a walk. That led to Ryan Weathers, son of David Weathers, making his MLB debut in the NLDS. He gave up two walks and hit a batter, but did get four outs. They were scoreless too because Austin Adams entered in relief and escaped potential disaster after issuing a walk to load the bases, getting Mookie Betts to fly out to deep left.
Tim Hill took over in the 5th, getting two outs but issuing a walk to Justin Turner. Garret Richards entered and walked Will Smith, but what proved costly was a Cody Bellinger grounder to Jake Cronenworth, who yanked a throw and pulled Wil Myers off the bag for a 1-1 tie.
Dustin May took over in the 5th for Buehler and he was stellar, impressively overmatching the Padres with six straight outs.
After struggling without a hit for five innings, the Dodgers broke through in the 6th. With one out, Chris Taylor walked and Mookie Betts came through with the first hit, a double. Corey Seager then hit a fly ball to left, bringing in CT3 and getting a 2-1 lead. Justin Turner then fisted a single to the right side to score another. Max Muncy followed with a double to put runners on second and third, and after an intentional walk to Will Smith to load the bases, Cody Bellinger dribbled a ball up the middle for an infield single to make it 4-1. To complete the mess, Muncy then scored on a wild pitch.
That was enough for the pen, who dominated. Victor Gonzalez took over for May in the 7th, getting a 1-2-3 frame. He did give up a double to start the 8th, but Blake Treinen entered and got the heart of the order. Treinen started in the 9th as well, getting a batter.
Kenley Jansen then entered to close it out, and he looked a lot better with the velocity increased and the movement better, getting a strikeout among his two outs to end it.
Still, I hate this park.
The two teams do it again tomorrow at 3:08 PM HST/6:08 PM PST/9:08 PM EST on FS1. It’ll be Clayton Kershaw for the Dodgers against likely Chris Paddack.