Buster Olney: The Padres Probably Surprised Themselves with NLDS Win Over Dodgers
The Dodgers and Padres rivalry will be amplified tonight with the game getting national broadcast treatment on ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball.” Before the start of the series, DodgersNation.com was joined by ESPN national reporter and host of the Baseball Tonight Podcast, Buster Olney. In a wide ranging conversation involving these Dodgers and Padres, Olney shared some great nuggets on the matchup and the rivalry that’s been growing over the last few years.
“There’s always that big brother, little brother rivalry going on with the little brother needing to learn how to beat the big brother. And the Padres probably even surprised themselves a little bit with how well they played against the Dodgers in the playoffs. I think that allowed them to take a step forward.”Via DodgersNationTV
As San Diego has improved over the last three to four seasons, the matchup between these teams has been getting more and more intense. Usually, Dodgers fans will point to LA’s 33-17 record over the Padres since 2020 and 120-61 over the last decade as a reason to downplay the rivalry talk. But, now when talking head-to-head playoff matchups, both teams are tied at one apiece. And in last October’s NLDS, the Padres beat the Dodgers not only in wins three games to one, but they beat the Dodgers in intensity, something Max Muncy recently addressed.
Since then, all the Padres have done is get better, adding shortstop Xander Bogaerts on a free agent deal and getting superstar slugger Fernando Tatis Jr back to go along with a slew of other All-Stars like Jake Cronenworth, Yu Darvish, Josh Hader, and of course Manny Machado.
To Olney, the mere thought of that many stars on the Padres is wild.
“They built on that [NLDS win] with a really aggressive offseason. They try to sign Trea Turner. They weren’t able to even though they had the biggest offer on the table. They tried to sign Aaron Judge and they weren’t able to even though they had the biggest offer on the table. But they do wind up with Xander Bogaerts, offering him 75% more than what the Boston Red Sox offered and now you have this team full of stars. When I covered the Padres 20 or 30 years ago, the idea that the Padres would have more big name stars in their lineup was not something you’d think was even possible.”
The Padres haven’t gotten off to the best of starts this year, much like the Dodgers. But also like the Dodgers, they spent most of the first month of the season getting to know all the new faces and settling into new roles after a spring training that saw players all over the map thanks to the WBC.
Now, we’re getting the best of the Dodgers and the Padres and it’s all going to be in the spotlight on Sunday Night Baseball, where Olney will be on the field in San Diego.
Buster Sticks With His Pre Season Pick
Before letting Olney go, he reaffirmed his preseason pick for the winner of the NL West, going with the Padres to bring home their first division crown in 17 years.