The MLB postseason has been filled with fun narratives this year. The Mariners made the
playoffs for the first time in over 20 years, the Phillies just upset the defending champion Atlanta
Braves and the Astros are trying to prove they can win a title without stealing signs. Just to add
to the fun of the playoffs, the So Cal rivalry of the Dodgers and Padres was at an all-time high as
the two clubs faced off in the NLDS.
When the Pads took the series, they had Friar fans jittery as they just eliminated Los
Angeles, their most hated rival. However, my Dodgers are still the better team.
The Dodgers had the greatest regular season in franchise history, racking up 111 wins,
the highest win total of any National League team since 1906. Even more impressive is that they
played most of the season without stars Walker Buehler and Blake Treinen, their best starting
and relief pitchers respectively. Despite those injuries and other minor hiccups, they still
managed to play the best baseball of any team and lead the league in three of the most well-
known and valued statistics: ERA, on base percentage and run differential. This speaks volumes
to the depth of skill on the roster that the team was this good when they weren’t fully healthy.
Against the Padres this season, the Dodgers went an impressive 14-5 and won every
series between the two clubs. Moreover, in these 19 head-to-head matchups, the Dodgers had a
run differential of +64. It is very feasible for a team to score 64 runs in 19 games. But to outscore
an opponent by 64 runs in 19 games is hard to do.
I could go into further depth about all the different stats that the Dodgers have an upper
hand in, but all that needs to be known is that the Dodgers owned the Padres this year, as per
usual. I would have given up all those regular season wins if it ensured the Dodgers advanced to
the NLCS, but there’s still something to be said for their success against the Pads in the regular
Besides their record and success against the Padres, this team is so much fun to watch.
I’ve been watching them all season and they might be the most fun Dodgers team I’ve been able
to watch, which is saying something given the teams the Dodgers have had in recent history. You
won’t find a better top three of a lineup than Mookie Betts, Trea Turner and Freddie Freeman.
Betts might be the most fun player to watch when he’s on. He can hit for average, hit for
power, has pretty good speed and he’s the best defensive right fielder in the league. Turner is in
the talk of fastest player in the league, but he’s also got some pop in his bat as he’s driven in over
100 runs this season. And Freeman is Mr. Consistent. He almost never slumps, and he always
seems to come up big when we need him most. The rest of the lineup is well rounded and has
All-Star caliber players, such as Will Smith and Chris Taylor. The lineup isn’t where it ends
Pitcher Julio Urias has electric stuff from the left side and has been dominant all year.
The emergence of Tony Gonsolin and Tyler Anderson has been exciting to see as well. Two
guys that don’t have any history of being superb have shown up all season. Gonsolin was even a
Cy Young candidate for the first half of the season.
Despite my belief that the Dodgers are the better team, the Padres outplayed the Dodgers
in October. That’s what makes October baseball so much fun yet so heart-wrenching at the same
time; it’s so unpredictable.
In 2019, the wild card Nationals devastated the Dodgers and went on to win the World
Series. Last year, the underdog Braves came in and shocked us in the NLCS, and also went on to
win the title. And of course, unfortunately, we lost two consecutive world championships in ‘17
and ‘18. All it takes is for a team to get hot at the right time or cold at the wrong time. Derek
Jeter said it well: “Good teams make the playoffs, hot teams win the playoffs.” Simply put, the
Padres got hot at the right time and the Dodgers didn’t.
Congratulations, Padres fans. Really enjoy these playoffs. Relish them. Because if your
franchise history is any indication of what’s to come, it will be a couple of decades before you
get to enjoy October baseball again.
Written By: Cade Michaelson