NL Division Series Preview: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Diego Padres

Juan Soto
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

It wouldn’t be unreasonable to mention that it doesn’t matter what occurs, the 2022 Padres in the long run had a positive season. Despite shedding their excellent participant for all of the season (and a bit of the following one), they gained 89 video games and made the playoffs, and in addition received one of the most excellent younger avid gamers ever to be had by means of business. They excised the worst of 2021’s demons in warding off a repeat of the surprising, surprising cave in that reworked them from a top-tier contender to a sub-.500 squad. And maximum not too long ago, they went to New York and ended the season of the 101-win Mets. But the season would nonetheless no longer really feel like a triumph in the event that they now fell to their greatest rival, the Los Angeles Dodgers (sorry, Giants enthusiasts, it’s a must to proportion your bête noire). That’s more straightforward stated than finished.

The contention between the Dodgers and Padres over the previous couple of years has in large part been a mismatch. San Diego went a depressing 5–14 in opposition to the Dodgers in 2022, didn’t even take a unmarried sequence in opposition to them this season, and haven’t had a successful file on this matchup since 2010. To upload damage to insult, the one time the Padres have made the playoffs all the way through the A.J. Preller technology, the unusual 2020 season, it used to be the Dodgers that despatched them packing in a three–0 sweep within the NLDS.

Let’s get started issues out with the ZiPS game-by-game projection.

ZiPS Projection – Dodgers vs. Padres

Team Win in Three Win in Four Win in Five Victory
Dodgers 16.5% 20.6% 23.2% 60.2%
Padres 8.3% 16.9% 14.6% 39.8%

The Dodgers are maintaining it shut, as of press time, whether or not Clayton Kershaw or Julio Urías would be the Game 1 starter (even though reportedly, they already know). While Kershaw has seniority within the rotation, the staff has often no longer began him within the first sport of a chain when he’s to be had, with each Urías and Walker Buehler a few of the pitchers getting the nod in recent times amongst others. ZiPS would relatively desire Kershaw because the Game 1/Game 5 starter, bumping the projected likelihood of the Dodgers advancing from 60.2% to 61.6%. While Urías gained his first ERA crown in 2022, his peripherals are down relatively from ’21.

I be expecting a extra orderly use of the rotation than in maximum years, fueled via the lacking leisure day between Games 4 and Game 5 (if the ones are vital). In the previous, bringing a Game 1 starter again for Game 4 nonetheless allowed the Game 2 starter to pitch in Game 5 on an ordinary 4 days’ leisure. Now, to drag off that individual gambit, you both need to decide to pitching each avid gamers on 3 days’ leisure or pass to another choice in Game 5. Andrew Heaney has had a gorgeous bounce-back season, however I’m relatively assured that the Dodgers would like to steer clear of having him be the starter in a conceivable high-stakes removal sport.

However it shakes out, the Padres will inevitably face a hefty dose of southpaws after matching up with 3 right-handed starters in New York. While they didn’t have a lot of a platoon break up all the way through the season, when ZiPS tasks the splits, the pc spits out a deficit in opposition to lefties that quantities to kind of 20 issues of OPS. The loss of Fernando Tatis Jr. looms massive right here; with him within the lineup, the Padres toughen to simply 54%–46% underdogs, as notable a shift within the possibilities as I will recall since I’ve been doing this.

There’s every other important delta within the projections, and no longer person who favors the Padres. ZiPS totally expects Juan Soto to hit like Juan Soto will have to, however he’s inarguably had a disappointing season general, a minimum of relative to the lofty requirements he’s set for himself. His wRC+ of 145 at the yr, whilst a positive quantity, is a definite downgrade from his 163 in 2021 and 202 in ’20. His .236/.388/.390 line in San Diego because the business, whilst indisputably useful to the staff, isn’t superstar-level for a hitter with out a lot defensive worth so as to add. If I inform ZiPS that Soto performs like his Padres self thus far fairly than the present projection, the Padres drop even additional into underdog territory, 64%–36%.

If the Dodgers have a platoon benefit in opposition to the Padres on the subject of the latter’s hitters, it’s additionally true at the different aspect of the ball. While there’s no form of pitcher whom the Dodgers worry, it’s a moderately lefty-heavy lineup, and ZiPS tasks a an identical break up for them. But the Padres don’t have the body of workers to make the most of that. They do have Blake Snell, and as such, the Padres are projected to be the most powerful in any video games he begins. But Sean Manaea’s struggles this yr have principally relegated him to mopup/lengthy reduction accountability this postseason. The Mets forcing a Game 3 additionally had an affect on San Diego’s rotation, getting rid of the facility to get Joe Musgrove two begins within the NLDS.

So a long way, numerous this piece has been fairly doom and gloom for the Padres, however in spite of that, there are nonetheless numerous causes for his or her enthusiasts to be hopeful. A 60/40 projection isn’t 70/30 or 80/20 or 90/10. If you had a magically weighted coin that got here up heads 60% of the time, it will take fairly some time in your buddies to understand your quite unambitious chicanery. The Dodgers simplest go the 70% threshold in opposition to the Padres taking part in a best-of-25 sequence and simplest blow previous the 90% mark at a extremely fantastic NLDS matchup that would pass 151 video games.

For a staff that gained 111 video games, it without a doubt looks like there’s numerous chance at the Dodgers. Tyler Anderson and Heaney have been cast this yr, however are you being truthful if you happen to say you’re as ok with them as, say, Max Scherzer and Buehler? Tony Gonsolin is again, however he additionally ignored time not too long ago with forearm ache, and Dustin May is not any ensure to be wholesome for the sequence both. Blake Treinen‘s status is also up in the air, and Daniel Hudson’s season led to June with a torn ACL. I’m no longer even certain which model of Craig Kimbrel, not too long ago demoted from nearer, they have got presently. The staff simply isn’t fairly as deep at this second as they have been in fresh postseasons.

If the Padres can get to both Kershaw or Urías and break up the primary two video games, the remainder 3 are projected as just about a coin turn (52%–48% Dodgers). A staff with Soto, Manny Machado, Josh Bell, and Jake Cronenworth within the lineup without a doubt has a minimum of the likelihood to do this.

The great factor about being the underdog is that you just simplest want to vanquish the opposite man as soon as. Daniel LaRusso didn’t have to return out forward in opposition to Johnny Lawrence each and every time. Rick Vaughn didn’t all the time need to strike out Clu Haywood. If the Padres excellent the Dodgers right here, no one will care in regards to the 14 regular-season losses. I don’t imagine in hoary outdated clichés about groups “wanting” one thing extra, however I believe the Padres are conscious they have got much more to end up than the Dodgers do and are not going to go away anything else at the desk.

Leave a Comment