The Los Angeles Dodgers welcome the San Diego Padres into Dodger Stadium Sunday for the final matchup in a three-game series between National League West rivals.
The San Diego Padres
The San Diego Padres head in with a 74-67 record that is third-best in the National League West, 15 games behind the Dodgers, and 17.5 games behind the first-place San Francisco Giants, who have the best record in baseball.
Not only has the NL West been the most competitive and best division this season, but it has also produced many of the best rivalry matchups, of which the Padres-Dodgers has been a standout.
San Diego has not lived up to the billing as a true powerhouse as they were thought to be, though they are still incredibly dangerous and currently tied for a Wild-Card spot.
Fernando Tatis Jr. has provided a majority of the team’s firepower, though they have also gotten noteworthy contributions from their pitching staff; lately, Blake Snell has come alive, giving the team a boost at just the right time.
“This is the type of momentum we need to build going into the last four or five weeks,” said Padres’ manager, Jayce Tingler, after seven scoreless innings from Snell led them to a 3-0 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks last week. “We’re right back in this thing.”
Snell himself (7-6, 4.22 ERA) will be on the mound, having tossed a 1.72 ERA over the course of August.
The Los Angeles Dodgers
With a record of 90-53 that is 2.5 games behind the Giants but still firmly the second-best total in baseball, the Dodgers are essentially a lock for the playoffs, whether that be as a Wild Card or division champion.
LA has the best roster on paper and got a serious boost at the trade deadline, securing the rights to Trea Turner, Danny Duffy, and Max Scherzer, though they have only won four of their last eight and given San Fran a little breathing room atop the division.
The Dodgers have three MVPs in their starting lineup— not including Clayton Kershaw— but have still been led by Justin Turner and Max Muncy, two of the odd men out. Their batters are firmly a top-five unit in baseball, though their pitchers have been even better.
Led by Scherzer and Walker Buehler, LA has produced an MLB-best team ERA of 2.96, a ridiculously low mark.
Scherzer (13-4, 2.28 ERA) will be on the bump for the home team in the final matchup of the series, having tossed an eight-inning, 13-strikeout masterclass in his last start.
As entertaining and competitive as the Padres have been against the Dodgers, they should lose Sunday’s meeting. Max Scherzer is simply too good and too hot to compete against, recently moving into the top spot in the MLB for ERA.
LA probably will not put a ton of runs past Snell, who has also been in tremendous form, but they will get the job done and probably cover the runline as well.
These teams will meet one more time in the penultimate series of the season, but for now, the Dodgers will reign supreme.