The Dodgers and Padres are getting set for one of the most highly-anticipated Divisional Round series in recent memory.
Over the last three seasons, since San Diego started going “all-in” at every trade deadline and in every offseason, the Padres have been trying to put together a team that could compete with the juggernaut of the NL West Los Angeles Dodgers.
They’ve been meticulously putting together a rotation that matches up well against the Dodgers, including the guy who shut them down in Game 6 of the 2020 World Series (before his manager took him out of the game) Blake Snell. They’ve also brought in some of the biggest bats in the game, and have time and time again proven they’ll do just about anything to win, especially against what people have started to call their ‘bigger brother’ in the division. However, up until this point, it’s been to no avail.
The teams met in the 2020 NLDS, but it was the Dodgers who ousted the Padres in three quick games. The series had its fair share of excitement, but it proved to be a perfect representation of the lopsidedness of the matchup.
However, after missing the playoffs last year, the Padres again loaded up at this year’s trade deadline. They hung on to a Wild Card spot, and ousted the 101-win Mets at Citi Field. Despite going just 5-14 against the Dodgers this season, they clearly wanted this matchup again. They wanted the opportunity to finally prove once and for all that they can slay the beast they’ve tried so hard to bring down these past few seasons.
So when Bill Plaschke used his column in the LA Times to, for the lack of a better word, completely annihilate the Padres and their hopes of winning this series, you have to ask yourself, why?
Yes, Plaschke may have been correct in saying this is somewhat of a one-sided rivalry. And yes, he may have been correct in saying that the Padres and their fans seem to care a lot more about their series with the Dodgers, while LA just seems to treat it like any other game.
But why add more fuel to the fire for the Padres? We know they really want to win. We know they’ll do just about anything to do it. And we know they’re feeling pretty good coming off of an upset-win in New York. So why offer them any more bulletin board material to give them that extra motivation to silence the doubters?
I’ve noticed that Dodger fans have been relatively safe on Twitter and other social media sites over the last couple days. They’ve seemed to all carry the same notion — the Dodgers should win this series, but you really never know what can happen in the postseason (and Dodger fans have come to know that better than anyone). So why talk a lot now, when you can let the Dodgers’ play do the talking, and then boast about it after the fact?
I get where Plaschke was coming from. And it was nice for him to lay out some reasons for Dodger fans to ‘care’ about this series. But I don’t think Dodger fans need any more reason to care than winning the World Series, something this team has felt destined to do since before the season began. And another World Series will finally silence all the doubters that say the 2020 ring ‘wasn’t real,’ and that this team couldn’t win in a full season. I think Dodger fans understand the gravity of this series.
Again, the Dodgers should beat the Padres. And they should also win the NLCS. And they should also win the World Series. But us Dodger fans know better than to make any assumptions about postseason baseball. So why talk the talk before we know whether or not the team is ready to go?