Padres eliminate Dodgers, advance to NLCS for 1st time since 1998

SAN DIEGO — Nights like those, when the weekend arrives and the Dodgers are on the town, do not frequently really feel like a home-field benefit for the Padres. So many Dodgers enthusiasts make the 125-mile power south that Petco Park is frequently known as “Dodger Stadium South” when the 2 groups fit up.

But that wasn’t the case Friday and Saturday. Petco Park, which had waited 16 years to host enthusiasts for a postseason recreation, used to be filled with locals who rooted laborious for the Padres and crammed the ballpark with “Beat L.A.” chants that every now and then felt deafening. And when Josh Hader recorded the overall out, capping an exhilarating 5-3 victory in Game 4 of the National League Division Series, where erupted in pleasure.

The Padres — the similar Padres who’ve spent virtually their complete life chasing the embellished franchise to the north — are advancing to their first NL Championship Series since 1998. They will face the upstart Philadelphia Phillies and grasp home-field benefit for the primary time in those playoffs. The Padres went at the street to beat the 101-win New York Mets within the wild-card spherical ultimate weekend then gained 3 instantly video games in opposition to a 111-win Dodgers workforce that had ruled them over the former six months.

“It took a team effort to beat a really good team,” Padres 3rd baseman Manny Machado mentioned, “and we did that tonight.”

The Padres held a lead during Game 3, however they fell in the back of early in Game 4. When the 7th inning came over, they trailed 3-0 and confronted the bleak prospect of returning to Los Angeles to pass in opposition to Dodgers ace Julio Urias in a winner-take-all Game 5.

Then the Padres staged their greatest rally of the yr.

Jurickson Profar, Trent Grisham and Austin Nola — representing a backside of the order that has come thru all month — all reached base to get started the inning in opposition to the Dodgers bullpen. Ha-Seong Kim, the every-day shortstop rather than the suspended Fernando Tatis Jr., doubled down the left-field line, making it a one-run recreation. Juan Soto, the large midseason acquisition, coated a base hit to the precise aspect to tie the rating. And Jake Cronenworth, who has established himself as a cornerstone participant, coated a two-out, two-run unmarried up the center in opposition to lefty reliever Alex Vesia, giving the Padres a two-run lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

The Padres, an 89-win workforce that entered the postseason because the No. 5 seed, turned into the 5th workforce to win a couple of collection in one postseason in opposition to fighters that collected 10 or extra wins than they did all the way through the steady season. The Dodgers had been particularly dominant in opposition to them. Los Angeles gained its ultimate 9 regular-season video games in opposition to San Diego in 2021 after which took 14 of nineteen all the way through the steady season in 2022, scoring greater than two times as many runs in head-to-head matchups.

The Dodgers’ loss marked the primary time a workforce misplaced a playoff collection to a department opponent after now not shedding a chain to that workforce all the way through the steady season, in accordance to the Elias Sports Bureau. This collection additionally marked the second one time in postseason historical past {that a} workforce eradicated any other after profitable 22 fewer video games all the way through the steady season, ultimate achieved all the way through the 1906 World Series.

The Padres closed as a +190 underdog at Caesars Sportsbook to win the collection, making this the second-biggest having a bet dissatisfied in a playoff collection during the last 10 seasons. (The Washington Nationals had been +195 to beat the Houston Astros within the 2019 World Series.)

“There’s a lot of good players over here,” Soto mentioned. “I’m happy to be part of this, and I think we have everything we need to reach our goal.”

The Dodgers spent this complete season pondering the similar. They set a franchise report in wins and notched a plus-334 run differential that used to be tied for the fourth greatest in historical past, however they as soon as once more got here up brief. The Dodgers have gained the NL West 9 instances prior to now 10 years — the one yr they did not win it noticed them seize 106 wins and fall a recreation shy of the name — however have come away with just one World Series championship all the way through that extend, on the finish of the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.

Dodgers supervisor Dave Roberts, a former Padres participant and trainer, known as this newest defeat “crushing.”

“Each guy gave everything they had all year long and a tremendous season,” Roberts mentioned. “The great thing about baseball is the unpredictability, and the tough thing about it is the same thing. Things could have gone either way today to impact the result of the game. It didn’t. We got beat in a series. Nothing I can say is going to make it feel any better. Obviously, we didn’t expect to be in this position.”

The Padres held grand expectancies coming into the 2021 marketing campaign however fell off in dramatic model down the stretch. The resulting offseason introduced a brand new supervisor in Bob Melvin, probably the most respected within the recreation, and the concept that this franchise may after all take off.

The Padres navigated thru lots of the resulting season as an enigma, frequently following dominant stretches with deficient ones. Their hyperaggressive basic supervisor, A.J. Preller, traded for Soto and lights-out nearer Hader sooner than the business closing date, however the ones strikes had been adopted by means of the lovely revelation that Tatis, the face in their franchise, had examined certain for a performance-enhancing substance. The Padres persisted, doing simply sufficient to safe a place in Major League Baseball’s expanded postseason subject. And when the playoffs started, they all of sudden performed their sharpest baseball of the season. Their enthusiasts naturally rallied in the back of them.

“The crowd was unbelievable,” mentioned Joe Musgrove, the native product and lifetime Padres fan who pitched six innings of two-run ball in Game 4. “It was everything I could have imagined.”

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