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The San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers are in the midst of an intense rivalry. The rivalry is not just a recent occurrence; the teams have been fighting for Western Division supremacy for years now. The Dodgers have won the division the past two seasons and they are looking to make that three in a row this year. The Padres, however, are looking to make a comeback after not being in the playoffs since 2006. They certainly have the talent to do so, led by a solid pitching staff and a solid lineup led by Adrian Gonzalez and Chase Headley.
The San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers both look to get back in the playoff race in the National League West, and this upcoming series could be a preview of a possible playoff series in October. After last season’s National League West showdown between the two teams that saw the Dodgers win by only one game, the Padres have been dominant while the Dodgers have struggled to rebound from last year’s injuries. The Dodgers are trying to make up for lost time, but the Padres may have already put too much of a gap between themselves and the rest of the division.
LOS ANGELES – It looked like Sunday’s finale, the seventh game in 10 days between the San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers, would finally bring the first setback in this exciting contest. The Dodgers led after six innings, and the Padres stayed in the game until the final nine outs in the final three innings of a grueling series that consisted of 17 games in 17 days.
But of course, the Padres closed the gap.
Of course, they made the game interesting in the ninth.
And of course, they took the game into overtime.
The Padres eventually won, thanks to a single by Manny Machado and a sacrifice fly by Eric Hosmer. In the end, San Diego won four of seven games against the Dodgers by a slim 32-30 margin. The teams played a total of 68 innings and were separated by two runs or less in 61 of those innings. There were 10 ties, five changes of leadership, two fights and one Twitter fight.
The second game ended with a dive by Mookie Betts. In the third game, the Padres held off a rally in the eighth. The fourth game was decided by a wild double play. In games 5 and 6, Fernando Tatis Jr hit four home runs, the first two in honor of his father and the last two out of lust to bully the opponent. Games 1 and 7 lasted a total of 23 innings and 10 hours.
I’m exhausted, Tatis said on ESPN, minutes after he withdrew from the final. I just want to go home and go to bed.
Sunday’s outing was the perfect ending. The first game – the 16th. April, which now seems like three months, lasted 12 innings and 297 minutes. The final lasted 11 rounds and 299 minutes. Early in the game, Dodgers pitcher David Price laid down a sacrifice bunt for Padres second baseman Jake Cronenworth that was caught by Padres pitcher Joe Musgrove. The final two starting pitchers, Ryan Weathers of the Padres and Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers, entered the game in the 10th. Inning with the winning ball from 90 feet away to hit.
An inning later, Mark Melancon came on as the 41st and final batter of Sunday’s game.
The Dodgers are the defending World Series champions and have won the division eight times in a row. They started this four game winning streak with the best record in the majors and finished with the best record in the majors. Right now, they have nothing to prove. The Padres always do that. And they did.
I think we definitely made a statement, Hosmer said. The whole baseball world has seen these games, watched our series, and I think they know we can compete with these guys.
The Padres and Dodgers will face each other at least 12 more times this season, but the next meeting isn’t until the 21st. The month of June will take place. In the meantime, here are the seven key outcomes of April’s seven exciting games:
It was only natural that this incredible series would have an incredible ending. When Chris Taylor hit a three-run homer in the sixth inning to make it 7-1, victory seemed assured for the Dodgers. In games in which the Dodgers have led by six runs or more, the Padres have gone 1-112. In the last 50 seasons, the winning percentage of teams with a lead of six in the seventh inning or later was .007. This year alone, teams have gone 0-49 in that situation.
The Dodgers have won 228 consecutive games in which they held a six-game lead.
The Padres, who had the most last-minute wins in the Major Leagues during the 2020 season shortened by lockouts, were the first to break that streak. They took a two-run lead in the seventh, another two in the eighth and another two in the ninth before finishing off the Dodgers two innings later.
We were just convinced they couldn’t stop us, they couldn’t stop us, Padres manager Jace Tingler said.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was visibly displeased with the performance of his bullpen, even with three of his promising assistants out.
He was asked if he had learned anything new about the Padres in those seven games.
Not much, says Roberts. We knew they could throw, we knew they were athletic. They play good defense. They made some big plays defensively, they made some big plays when they needed to, so, yeah, we knew that. It’s more about us and how we play baseball. If we play good baseball, pitch well, we win.
Tatis is back (at least on one side)
On Friday, Tatis Kershaw had two strikeouts, 22. His father’s birthday, hitting two grand slams in one inning at Dodger Stadium. On Saturday, Tatis again threw two three-hit games – this time against Trevor Bauer – becoming the first player in history to throw two games with two Hatters against Cy Young Award winners. On Sunday, he hit another home run. In doing so, he became the first shortstop to hit home runs in three consecutive games at Dodger Stadium and the first player to hit five or more home runs and two or more stolen bases in an away game at any venue.
I truly believe he is the best talent in baseball, Hosmer said. He is the face of baseball, and he showed why. Especially when you see how he started when there was no panic in his game. When you’re a young player and you start something slow and not in the way you want, it’s so easy to panic and try to do more. In an important series like this, with the whole world watching against the Dodgers, and again tonight on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball, he has always impressed me with his mental side of the game.
Tatis also committed an error in the second inning, leading the Major Leagues with nine errors in the first 15 games. But maybe the defense will get better as the offensive component of Tatis’ game recovers. Tatis started the four-game series with a .600 OPS and finished with a .970 OPS. For his fourth home run of the series, he hit a pitch that was well outside the strike zone in left-center. On his fifth pitch, he saw a deep fastball and hit it the other way. These are good signs for his sensitive left shoulder.
Covered Eyes, YouTube Answers, and Photoshopped Children
For 17 hours, we’ve been…
– Tatis taunts Bauer by covering an eye and imitating Conor McGregor to celebrate home runs.
– Bauer spoke out in favor of honoring Tatis, saying he was in favor of it and calling pitchers soft when they throw in front of hitters in response to such protests.
– Bauer condemned Tatis on Twitter for apparently watching Dodgers catcher Will Smith just before his second home run.
– Tatis throws a counter punch to Bauer.
Tranquilo hijo. pic.twitter.com/lRe2hBLmR8
– Fernando Tatis Jr (@tatis_jr) April 25, 2021
Later, Bauer recorded a YouTube video jokingly dissecting Tatis’ celebrations, but also pointing out that he quietly turned around during the game to spy on Smith’s plate or see where he was lined up (or both) before hitting a home run in the sixth inning – with a low drive that was clearly outside the strike zone.
Below is part of Bauer’s response to this video.
If you want to do this and celebrate, you should ….. Oh, that’s tough. It’s hard. Either you’re good enough to ignore the signs, and then you can celebrate. Or, if you must look at the signs, I don’t know about the holidays. It’s not easy. This raises the issue of unwritten rules. Am I crazy to party and do bat-flips and stuff? No. But when you start watching the signs, when you start doing these things, like in the Bush League, people panic. I mean, a lot of people are upset about the holidays and stuff. They’re just soft. But you can do that sort of thing in other games. Now I take it easy and send a message the other way: Hey, this is not good. If you keep this up, something’s going to have to be done.
Roberts set a similar tone during his pregame media session Sunday afternoon. He said he hadn’t seen the video of Tatis looking at Smith for his home run and said: I have a lot of respect for Fernando and the way he plays. But if it is, which I don’t know, it will be noted.
He was asked if he thought his catcher adjusted to Tatis’ physique.
No, Roberts replied, that’s not what I’m talking about.
solution for Manny?
Earlier this season, Machado got on base 14 times in 21 appearances against Bauer. He had 10 hits in 17 at-bats, four of which went over the fence, and added two singles in their mutual game on the 18th. April again. Against Bauer’s four-hole fastball, Machado hit 1,727. Nonsense.
On Saturday, Bauer responded by attacking Machado exclusively with sliders. Seriously, though. On three hits, Machado has seen 13 consecutive sliders, a pitch that Bauer usually prefers to throw to right-handed hitters and that caused Machado to take a terrible swing in their last meeting.
The result, this time with sliders : Strikeout, ground-and-pound, strikeout, which made Machado smile as he returned to his bench.
Maybe bauer finally found something for machado.
A scene reminiscent of Game 6 of the World Series last year: Blake Snell went five innings, came into the field in the sixth, got off to a surprisingly early start, then watched his bullpen throw everything. It happened again Saturday, in the only game the Dodgers won in this series. Snell transferred to the Padres hoping to get a chance to prove he could pitch consistently and deep into games, something the Tampa Bay Rays team almost never allowed. But he’s still looking for his first six-inning start since the 21st. July 2019.
In four of their five starts, the Padres have brought Snell up to the 90-pitch mark, which isn’t exactly surprising. Each team is extremely careful with their starting pitchers, as the transition from a 60-game season to a 162-game campaign requires a significant increase in innings pitched. But the Padres will need Snell to pitch in games at some point. Their bullpen has already pitched 103⅔ innings this season (including eight on Sunday alone). It’s overwhelming for a team that expects to play until October.
New Kenley, looks like the old
California Love – a staple of the Dodger Stadium soundtrack for much of the last decade – is no longer Kenley Janssen’s opening song. He replaced it with 2 from Amerikaz Most Wanted, another popular 2Pac song.
Just a fresh start, man, Jensen said at the beginning of the season. It’s about time.
Baseball’s coming back! Follow the 2021 MLB season on ESPN and the ESPN app.
Tuesday, April 27,
Red Sox – Mets, 7:10 ET on ESPN
Sunday, 2. May
Mets – Phillies, 7 ET on ESPN
This new Jensen looks a lot like the old one – a great and not yet expected development that could take the Dodgers to the next level. Jensen’s slash rate is the highest since Statcast started tracking them in 2015; the exit velocity against him is by far the lowest in that time frame. Jensen threw a pitch of 97 mph on Tuesday – the first time he’s hit that mark since June 2018. Saturday, Roberts called Jensen out for the final four in a one-run game and he responded by striking out four of the five batters he saw in a row.
Jensen throws his slasher at an average of 92 mph, which is the ideal speed for this pitch. The execution is time dependent.
That’s the feeling I’ve been looking for for years, Jensen said. It’s hard for me to explain.
To be determined
With the Padres and Dodgers facing each other like that, it was also clear that neither team was the best version of themselves. Cody Bellinger, who is recovering from a broken leg, did not play at all. Instead, guys like Luke Reilly, Matt Beaty and D.J. Peters had 31 tackles against the Padres. When the Padres tied the score in the ninth inning on Sunday, Jimmy Nelson was on the field and Garrett Clevinger started warming up shortly after Nelson got into trouble in the eleventh. None of them would have pitched in such tense situations if it had been October instead of April.
Even the addresses were not always intact. Dinelson Lamet was unavailable in both series. He is one of 11 San Diego pitchers currently on the injured list. And when Tingler was asked if he thought his team was better than the Dodgers, he said: I am more focused on where we will be and what we can fix and bring together, and I am very, very convinced that we have a long way to go. And I’m sure the other side does too. They’re going to get the boys. They will get better, and we will get better.
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