Dodgers’ season ends in NLDS Game 4 loss to the San Diego Padres

Cody Bellinger heads to first after flying out during the eighth inning of a season-ending 5-3 loss to the San Diego Padres.
Cody Bellinger heads to first after flying out during the eighth inning of a season-ending 5-3 loss to the San Diego Padres in Game 4 of the NLDS at Petco Park on Saturday night.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

The Dodgers’ World Series hopes were dashed Saturday night in a season-ending loss to the Padres in Game 4 of the National League Division Series in San Diego.

Dodgers disaster unfolds in seventh-inning meltdown and season-ending loss to Padres

SAN DIEGO — The disaster unfolded in slow motion, a train wreck of an inning, of a playoff series, of a once-promising and historic 2022 season.

The Dodgers entered the bottom of the seventh Saturday night leading the San Diego Padres by three runs.

They ended the frame trailing by two, a combination of bad execution, puzzling decision-making and relentless Padres hitting paving the way for a 5-3 loss in Game 4 of the National League Division Series that eliminated the Dodgers from the playoffs.

In their worst nightmares, they couldn’t have concocted a more harrowing scene.

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Dodgers go from biggest winners to biggest losers with season-ending loss to Padres

Dodgers second baseman Max Muncy walks on the field in the rain.
Dodgers second baseman Max Muncy walks on the field in the rain during a 5-3, season-ending loss to the Padres on Saturday night.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

SAN DIEGO — They have flopped before, countless wonderful summers cruelly melted into autumn ashes.

But they’ve never blown it like this.

They have been embarrassed before, many memorable summer marches ruined by staggering October stumbles.

But they’ve never been humiliated like this.

Barely a week after setting a franchise record with 111 regular-season victories, the biggest winners in Dodgers history have blundered into a vastly different moniker.

The Biggest Losers.

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Dodgers eliminated from postseason with 5-3 loss

SAN DIEGO — The Dodgers’ season is over.

It ended at the hands of the Padres tonight with a 5-3 loss thanks to five-run bullpen meltdown in the seventh inning.

So, it’ll be the 89-win Padres, not the 111-win Dodgers, who will play the Phillies in the NLCS. This will go down as one of the most — if not the most — disappointing end to a Dodgers season in recent memory.

A team that set a franchise record in wins, posted the best run differential since the 1939 Yankees, scored more runs than anyone, and surrendered fewer runs than anyone has been eliminated by a division rival after four playoff games.

Padres 5, Dodgers 3 — Final


Dodgers are three outs away from elimination

SAN DIEGO — The Dodgers are three outs away from elimination after going down in order in the eighth inning against Robert Suarez.

Rain is coming down hard here. The conditions seemed to have affected Gavin Lux, who appeared to lose his grip on the bat as he struck out to end the inning. No matter. They’re playing on though the rain and Petco Park is alive.

Padres 5, Dodgers 3 — Middle of the eighth inning


Dodgers bullpen stumbles and Padres take lead

San Diego's Juan Soto celebrates after hitting a game-tying single in the seventh inning Saturday.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

SAN DIEGO — The Dodgers’ bullpen, given their heavy workload, was eventually going to stumble. When starters don’t pitch more than five innings — with a bullpen game sprinkled in — it’s inevitable. The letdown was just a matter of time.

That time came in the seventh inning tonight.

The Padres tallied five runs in the frame, roaring back from a 3-0 deficit to take the lead and leave Petco Park shaking.

The meltdown began with Tommy Kahnle issuing a leadoff walk. Trent Grisham followed with a single on the next pitch, putting runners on the corners. Austin Nola then hit a groundball that bounced off a diving Freddie Freeman’s glove at first base. The bad bounce allowed Profar to score and chased Kahnle.

Yency Almonte was the next man out of the bullpen. He promptly surrendered an RBI double down the left-field line to Ha-Seong Kim. He then fell behind Juan Soto 2-0 before Soto swatted a game-tying single to right field.

Almonte recovered to strike out Manny Machado and induce a foul out from Brandon Drury. Then something weird happened: Almonte threw a pitch — a ball — to the left-handed-hitting Jake Cronenworth before Dodgers manager Dave Roberts emerged to pull him for left-hander Alex Vesia.

San Diego Padres second baseman Jake Cronenworth, left, celebrates after hitting a go-ahead, two-run double.
San Diego Padres second baseman Jake Cronenworth, left, celebrates after hitting a go-ahead, two-run double during the seventh inning.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

It was a favorable matchup for the Dodgers and it didn’t matter. Cronenworth lined a two-run, go-ahead single to center field, leaving the Dodgers six outs from elimination. The Padres appeared poised for more when Myers worked an eight-pitch walk, but Vesia got Jurickson Profar to strike out to end the inning.

The Dodgers’ inability to bust the game open in the top of the inning — they scored just once after loading the bases with no outs — might just be the difference.

Padres 5, Dodgers 3 — After seven innings


Dodgers pad lead but squander chance to break game open

Mookie Betts scores a run in front of San Diego Padres catcher Austin Nola on a sacrifice flyball
Mookie Betts scores a run in front of San Diego Padres catcher Austin Nola on a sacrifice flyball hit by Will Smith during the seventh inning.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

SAN DIEGO — The Dodgers threatened to blow the game open by loading the bases with no outs in the seventh inning. But they ended up producing just one run on Will Smith’s sacrifice fly.

The Dodgers followed Smith’s RBI with a double steal on left-hander Tim Hill’s first pitch out of the bullpen, putting both runners in scoring position again. It was a golden opportunity. Max Muncy struck out and Justin Turner grounded out to end the inning.

Los Angeles got one, but it easily could’ve been more.

Dodgers 3, Padres 0 — Middle of the seventh inning


Drone causes delay in seventh inning

A drone hovers over the field during the seventh inning.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

SAN DIEGO — For the second time in two weeks, a Dodgers game was delayed by a drone appearance.

This time, a drone flew down to the field area with one out in the seventh inning. It hovered above second base for a couple of innings before appearing to leave. The crowd cheered its exit.

The Dodgers had their game against the Rockies on Oct. 4 delayed by a drone at Dodger Stadium. No word on if they are the same drone.


Chris Martin (barely) keeps the Padres scoreless

Dodgers relief pitcher Chris Martin reacts after a pitch during the sixth inning against the Padres on Saturday.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

SAN DIEGO — Tyler Anderson threw 86 pitches in five innings. He had retired 10 of 11 batters. He could have gone out for the sixth inning. But Dave Roberts chose to end his night there and insert Chris Martin. The decision worked out. Barely.

The Padres put two runners on base with two outs for Wil Myers. Martin jumped ahead 0-2 before throwing three straight balls to run the count full. The runners were running on the next pitch. One mistake and the Dodgers’ lead could’ve vanished.

Martin avoided disaster by getting Myers to strike out on a fastball. On to the seventh inning we go.

Dodgers 2, Padres 0 — After six innings


Dodgers aren’t happy with John Tumpane’s strike zone

San Diego Padres center fielder Trent Grisham strikes out in the fifth inning.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

SAN DIEGO — Home plate umpire John Tumpane is not making many friends on either side tonight.

Players on both teams have had issues with Tumpane’s strike zone — beginning with him ringing up Mookie Betts to start the game. The latest protest came from Chris Taylor in the sixth inning.

The Dodgers had runners on first and second with one out. They were threatening to stretch their 2-0 lead. Taylor thought a 1-2 fastball from Joe Musgrove was outside. It certainly looked like ball two. But Tumpane called it strike three, prompting the usually tranquil Taylor to argue the call.

Moments later, Gavin Lux struck out swinging through Musgrove’s 101st pitch. The sequence re-ignited Petco Park. Whether it will cost the Dodgers remains to be seen.

Dodgers 2, Padres 0 — Middle of the sixth inning


Trayce Thompson robs hit with diving catch in center field

Dodgers center fielder Trayce Thompson makes a diving catch during the fourth inning Saturday.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

SAN DIEGO — Cody Bellinger’s defense in center field is why the Dodgers tolerated his offensive struggles for so long this season. He’s an elite defender who covers more ground than most of his peers. Trayce Thompson, it turns out, isn’t bad out there either.

Thompson robbed Brandon Drury of extra bases with a diving catch in right-center field in the fourth inning. He covered 80 feet to track down the 100.9-mph line drive. The play had a 35% catch probability.

The Dodgers’ decision to start Thompson in center field and Chris Taylor in left field, leaving Bellinger on the bench hasn’t panned out offensively so far tonight. The duo is 0 for 4 with three strikeouts. But there hasn’t been a defensive dropoff yet.



Dodgers take 2-0 lead on Freddie Freeman’s double

Freddie Freeman hits a two-run double during the third inning of Game 4 of the NLDS on Saturday.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

SAN DIEGO — The skid is finally over.

The Dodgers were 0 for their last 20 with runners in scoring position when Freddie Freeman stepped into the batter’s box with one out in the third inning. Mookie Betts was at third base after walking. Trea Turner was a second base after doubling. The Dodgers had another scoring chance.

This time, someone finally came through in a big spot. Freeman bounced a groundball down the right-field line for a two-run double — his second double in two at-bats tonight — to give the Dodgers their first lead since the third inning of Game 2 on Wednesday.

The Dodgers had a chance to pad the lead against Joe Musgrove, but Freeman and Max Muncy were stranded on the corners. That could haunt them later on, but one hit in that spot was progress.

One other thing in their favor: Musgrove has thrown 66 pitches through three innings.

Dodgers 2, Padres 0 — Middle of the third inning


Tyler Anderson pitches out of a jam in second inning

Dodgers pitcher Tyler Anderson delivers during the first inning Saturday.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

SAN DIEGO — The Dodgers’ offense has — rightly — been under the microscope over the last three games, but the Padres aren’t exactly mashing the baseball either.

The Padres scored two runs in their Game 3 win while going 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position. Yes, the Dodgers going 0 for their last 20 is historically bad, but San Diego didn’t run away with either of the last two games.

The Padres again squandered a scoring opportunity in the third inning against Tyler Anderson. After Grisham worked a two-out walk to put runners on first and second, Anderson got Austin Nola to hit groundball to third baseman Max Muncy, who stepped on third base for the third out.

Anderson is through two scoreless innings, but he’s thrown 42 pitches. Dave Roberts may need to turn to his bullpen earlier than he’d like.

Padres 0, Dodgers 0 — After two innings


Dodgers fail to capitalize on scoring opportunity to begin Game 4

Dodgers shortstop Trea Turner tosses his bat on a fly out during the first inning Saturday.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

SAN DIEGO — Joe Musgrove threw the first pitch of the night — a 94-mph fastball for a strike to Mookie Betts — to conclude what ended up being a 31-minute delay to start the game.

He also ended the at-bat with a fastball that Betts took for a strike. Both pitches, according to MLB Gameday, were above the strike zone. It didn’t matter. Betts went down looking.

The Dodgers then caught another tough break when Padres second baseman Jake Cronenworth ran down Trea Turner’s flyball to shallow right field. Cronenworth sprinted 94 feet to make the catch.

Freddie Freeman followed with a stellar at-bat, lining the eighth pitch to the left-center field gap for a double. But the Dodgers failed to capitalize on another scoring opportunity — it’s been the theme of the series — as Will Smith flied out to center field. Trent Grisham ran 92 feet to secure the out.

The Dodgers are now 0 for their last 20 with runners in scoring position.

Padres 0, Dodgers 0 — Middle of the first inning


Game 4 start time scheduled for 7:07 p.m. PDT

The sun sets behind Petco Park before the start of Game 4 of the NLDS.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

SAN DIEGO — The grounds crew at Petco Park was greeted with cheers at 6:24 p.m. local time when they emerged to remove the tarp from the field. The Padres then announced first pitch is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. — 30 minutes after the original start time.

The Dodgers will have Tyler Anderson start opposite Joe Musgrove facing elimination and another disappointing October.


The secret behind the Padres’ turnaround? Manager Bob Melvin ripping them

San Diego Padres manager Bob Melvin watches from the dugout before Game 3 of a National League.
Padres manager Bob Melvin watches from the dugout before Game 3 of the Padres’ National League wild-card series against the New York Mets on Oct. 9.
(John Minchillo / Associated Press)

SAN DIEGO — Bob Melvin is about as mild-mannered as big league managers come, a 19-year veteran whose style has always leaned more toward the even-keeled, professorial Gil Hodges than the volcanic Billy Martin.

So when the San Diego Padres field boss aired out his players in the clubhouse and then ripped them to the media after a lackluster 4-0 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sept. 15, it caught his club by surprise.

“It’s interesting, because you don’t see it much,” Padres second baseman Jake Cronenworth said with a laugh, when asked what it’s like when Melvin gets mad. “I think it was the right time and place to kind of light a fire under everybody, and it seemed to work. If he needs to get mad again, I wouldn’t be mad.”

There has been no need for such managerial outbursts this past week, not with the Padres pushing the 111-win Dodgers to the brink of elimination in the NL Division Series. San Diego held a two-games-to-one advantage in the best-of-five series entering Game 4 in Petco Park Saturday night.

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Start of NLDS Game 4 delayed because of inclement weather

The Padres field crew deploys a tarp on the field at Petco Park before Game 4 of the NLDS on Saturday night
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

SAN DIEGO — The Padres announced the start of Game 4 of the National League Division Series has been delayed because of incoming inclement weather.

It’s unclear how long beyond the original 6:37 p.m. PDT start time the game will be delayed. Officials are planning to re-evaluate the weather situation at 6:15 p.m.

Earlier in the day, heavy rains forced the Padres to tarp the infield at Petco Park,, but it hasn’t rained since that burst. Light to moderate rain is forecast for the San Diego area until about 10 p.m.

Strangely, this is the second weather-related delay the Dodgers have encountered in San Diego over the last month. There have been just three rainouts at Petco Park since it opened in 2004.


Cody Bellinger ‘upset’ with benching

San Diego, CA - October 15: Los Angeles Dodgers' Cody Bellinger looks at his phone in the stands.
Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger looks at his phone in the stands before Game 4 of the NLDS at Petco Park on Saturday.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

SAN DIEGO — The Dodgers’ lineup Saturday featured one unexpected omission: Cody Bellinger.

Despite facing right-hander Joe Musgrove, the Dodgers elected to bench Bellinger and have Trayce Thompson start in center field.

Roberts pointed to Bellinger’s poor history facing Musgrove — he’s 2 for 17 against him — and said the team liked Thompson’s and left fielder Chris Taylor’s chances to produce better. But the decision seemed to have caught Bellinger by surprise.

“He was upset,” Roberts said. “He wanted to be in there. He expected to be in there. All year long I’ve played him against right-handed pitching, and he wanted to be in there. But he also said he’ll be ready for whatever we need.”

The Dodgers stuck by Bellinger as their everyday center fielder for most of the regular season even though he was one of the worst hitters in the majors for the third straight season after winning the NL MVP award in 2019. They shifted their approach in September, demoting Bellinger to a platoon player against right-handed starting pitchers.

The Dodgers followed that script in the first three games of the NLDS: Bellinger started in Game 1 and Game 2 against right-handed starters before he was benched in Game 3 opposite left-hander Blake Snell. But they changed course Saturday, illustrating a perplexing fall from MVP to bench player in three years for a player still in his physical prime.

Bellinger, 27, remains one of the best defensive center fielders in the majors, but he hasn’t regained his All-Star form since 2019. He’s posted a .203 batting average and .648 on-base-plus-slugging percentage over the last three seasons. His 74 OPS+ suggests he’s been 36% worse as a hitter than a replacement-level player (100 is considered average).

He was significantly better in last year’s postseason, batting .353 with a .907 OPS, with the go-ahead hit in Game 5 of the NLDS against the Giants, and a walk-off home run against the Braves in the NLCS, but he went 1 for 6 with four strikeouts in his two starts against the Padres in this NLDS.

Still a fan favorite, Bellinger has one year of team control remaining before hitting free agency. The Dodgers, however, could choose to not tender him a contract this offseason, effectively releasing him. MLB Trade Rumors projects Bellinger would earn $18.1 million through arbitration next season — a modest raise from the $17 million he was paid this year.


Padres fans are still rallying around The Goose


Padres’ Joe Musgrove can solidify San Diego hometown hero status in Game 4 of NLDS

Padres pitcher Joe Musgrove throws against the San Francisco Giants on Oct. 3.
(Gregory Bull / Associated Press)

SAN DIEGO — They blew up a piece of Joe Musgrove’s childhood a couple of years ago. Qualcomm Stadium was the old home of the hometown team in a town that lives to despise the Dodgers.

In San Diego, Musgrove is as authentic as it gets. The first time Musgrove went to see the Dodgers play his Padres there, he got in a fight and got kicked out of the stadium. He was not yet old enough to drive.

He is the people’s choice. He is not blessed with the outrageous skill of Manny Machado or the prodigious talent of Juan Soto, but he is one of their own.

On Saturday night, Musgrove can lead the Padres and their fans to a promised land. If the Padres win, they vanquish the mighty Dodgers and advance to the National League Championship Series for the first time since 1998.

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Rain and San Diego?

Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman goes through drills with third base coach Dino Ebel in front of a tarped infield.
Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman, left, goes through drills with third base coach Dino Ebel in front of a tarped infield at Petco Park before Game 4 of the NLDS on Saturday.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

SAN DIEGO — The weather is almost never a factor at Petco Park, but Saturday might prove to be the exception.

Rain poured down just after 3 p.m. PDT, forcing the Padres’ grounds crew to scramble to take out the tarp. As they did that, thunder boomed.

The rain soon slowed but rain is in the forecast until 6 p.m. First pitch is scheduled for 6:37 p.m. so timing shouldn’t be affected, but the rain could create unusual conditions. Something to keep an eye on.


Panic mode has taken root for Dodgers, who are doing very little right

Dodgers players watch from the dugout during the ninth inning in Game 3 of the NLDS against the Padres on Friday.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

SAN DIEGO — With one out in the top of the seventh inning, manager Dave Roberts called on Gavin Lux to pinch-hit for Austin Barnes.

Lux struck out looking on a 101-mph fastball by Luis Garcia, but the significance of the at-bat was more in its symbolism than its result.

The Dodgers were panicking.

The substitution had cost them their designated hitter, as Will Smith was forced to strap on his chest protector in his bottom half of the inning after starting the game as the DH. There was risk involved in removing Barnes, as the Dodgers were down by only a run and extra innings were a possibility, but these were desperate times.

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Tony Gonsolin’s struggles expose Dodgers’ lack of pitching depth at the worst time

Dodgers starting pitcher Tony Gonsolin delivers during a 2-1 loss to the San Diego Padres.
Dodgers starting pitcher Tony Gonsolin delivers during a 2-1 loss to the San Diego Padres in Game 3 of the NLDS on Friday.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

SAN DIEGO — Not so long ago, Tony Gonsolin was an All-Star. A Cy Young candidate. A shining light in the glittering galaxy of the Dodgers’ starting rotation with a 16-1 record and 2.10 earned-run average.

That rotation was so strong — and the prospect of getting Walker Buehler and Dustin May back from injuries was so tantalizing — that president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman didn’t reinforce the pitching staff before the Aug. 2 trade deadline. The price for top-notch starters was costly. Since the Dodgers had the best record in the National League, adding a top-tier starter didn’t seem an urgent need.

The bullpen seemed well-stocked, too, with Blake Treinen, Brusdar Graterol and Tommy Kahnle also due back from injuries. The Dodgers made some inquiries but chose not to be aggressive in pursuing Frankie Montas (who went from Oakland to the New York Yankees), Luis Castillo (who went from Cincinnati to Seattle) or the Marlins’ Pablo Lopez.

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The unthinkable might happen. The 111-win Dodgers are a single loss away from collapse

SAN DIEGO — It’s unimaginable. It’s unthinkable. It could never happen.

It’s nine innings from happening.

Barely a week after ending a regular season full of 111-win life, the Dodgers are suddenly on their last breath.

After six months of complete baseball domination, the Dodgers are on the verge of losing it all in four nights.

The best team in Dodger history could soon become the most disappointing team in Dodger history.

On a night when constant chants of “Beat L.A.” rang their ears and thousands of flapping yellow towels filled their eyes, the stunned Dodgers stumbled into what could be yet another nightmare to their latest dream.

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Trea Turner in Dodgers lineup for Game 4

Dodgers shortstop Trea Turner throws to first against the Padres in Game 3 of the NLDS on Friday.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

SAN DIEGO — The Dodgers lost Game 3 of the National League Division Series against the San Diego Padres, but they avoided losing their star shortstop for Game 4 on Saturday night.

Trea Turner left Petco Park on Friday night after the Dodgers’ 2-1 loss unsure whether he would play Saturday with the team facing elimination after he hurt his right ring finger sliding into first base in the eighth inning on a pickoff attempt. X-rays on the finger were negative, but his availability for Game 4 depended on the pain. He said the biggest test would be whether he could grip a bat.

On Saturday, just more than two hours before first pitch, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said an MRI exam revealed Turner suffered a Grade 2 strain. He noted there was some concern about Turner’s status, but Turner felt ready to play after throwing and taking swings. Roberts gave Turner the option to start as the designated hitter, but he told Roberts he wanted to play shortstop.

“He would not be on the injured list,” Roberts said, “but I would say, if it was the regular season, he might take a day.”

Padres reliever Robert Suarez caught Turner leaning the wrong way leading off first base with no outs in the eighth after Turner had reached on a single. Turner managed to rush back in time with a slide, but he jammed the finger. He had the finger taped and stayed in the game. He was left stranded on base.

This isn’t the first time Turner has encountered finger injuries in his career. He played through a broken right index finger in 2019 and another fractured finger last season. He said Friday night that he would wear mitts on both hands on the bases if he played Saturday. He normally wears a mitt only on his left hand.

Turner jumped out to a good start this postseason, clubbing home runs in two of his first six plate appearances, but he has since scuffled. He’s made two errors on defense, one in each of the last two games, and made another poor defensive play in Game 2 that was ruled a fielder’s choice.

He struck out in his first two plate appearances Friday, including once in the third inning with two runners on base and one out, and popped out with a runner at third base in the fifth. He led off the eighth inning with a single, but he was left stranded as the Dodgers’ woes with runners in scoring position continued.

Dodgers vs. Padres in Game 4 of NLDS.
(Hamlet Nalbandyan / Los Angeles Times)

ICYMI: Dodgers on the edge of elimination after Game 3 loss to Padres

Dodgers vs. Padres highlights in Game 3 of the NLDS

SAN DIEGO — On the night of the Padres’ first home playoff game with a crowd in 16 years, their fans were treated to another sight that felt almost as rare.

With a 2-1 win Friday in Game 3 of the National League Division Series, the Padres conquered the Dodgers in a way they’ve seldom done in recent years, again quieting the majors’ best regular-season offense to take a two games to one series lead and put the Dodgers’ season on the brink.

“We’ve got to play better baseball,” manager Dave Roberts said.

Added shortstop Trea Turner: “It’s win or go home for us. We gotta get it done.”

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How to watch Dodgers vs. Padres in the NLDS

Here’s how to watch and stream the Dodgers vs. the San Diego Padres in the National League Division Series this weekend. First pitch for Game 4 on Saturday is scheduled for 5:37 p.m. PDT.


Betting odds and lines for Game 4 of the NLDS

Here are the latest betting lines and odds for Game 4 of the National League Division Series between the Dodgers and San Diego Padres at Petco Park on Saturday: