Dodgers Dugout: Don’t overlook the Padres

Los Angeles, California October 4 2022-Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias throws a pitch.
Julio Urías
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, and be careful what you wish for.

Many people, including the author of this newsletter, were worried about the Dodgers facing the New York Mets in the postseason because of their dynamic starting duo of Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom. The assumption was that facing the San Diego Padres in the first round would be much better. And on paper, that’s all true.

But, now that the Padres have eliminated the Mets, this sets up as the perfect trap series. After all, the Dodgers went 14-5 against San Diego this season and have thoroughly dominated the rivalry recently. Seems like they should win the series and move on to the NLCS to face either the Atlanta Braves or Philadelphia Phillies.

Dodger players never really said whom they would prefer to face, but you have to figure human nature had them gearing up to face the Mets. There could be a slight letdown. That could be enough for the Padres to sneak away with Game 1, meaning the Dodgers would have to win three of four.


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The basic lesson here is don’t overlook the Padres. They have a good team. Juan Soto could get hot and carry them. His overall numbers look off compared to his usual norms, but since Sept. 15, Soto is hitting .302/.413/.524. He hit .333 against the Mets. Manny Machado has been solid all season. Josh Hader had a 7.31 ERA for the Padres after they acquired him at the trade deadline, but since Aug. 31, he has pitched 12 1/3 innings, giving up five hits, one earned run and two walks while striking out 15, good for a 0.73 ERA. The Dodgers have an edge in hitting and a huge edge in pitching. But so did the Mets.

It will not be an easy series, but I think the Dodgers will win. And as a reminder, you’ll get Dodgers Dugout pretty much daily during the postseason as we break down each game and preview the next one.

Prediction: Dodgers in 4.

Who starts Game 1?

The Dodgers announced Monday that their Game 1 starter will be Julio Urías. Andrew Friedman said over the weekend that the decision would come down to who is better able to come back in Game 5 on full rest, either Urías or Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw will start Game 2 and will be available to pitch in Game 5, but on short rest. Urías was the ace of the staff this season, and more than earned the Game 1 start.

Tyler Anderson and Tony Gonsolin will start Games 3 and 4, with the game Gonsolin starts probably turning into a bullpen game since it would be surprising to see Gonsolin go more than four innings.

The Padres’ best three starters pitched in the wild-card series against the Mets, so, while an official announcement has not been made, the expectation is Mike Clevinger will get the start in Game 1.

Final roster announcements will come sometime today. Chris Taylor has a stiff neck, but is expected to make the roster. Will Miguel Vargas or Hanser Alberto get the final position player spot? Will Blake Treinen and Dustin May be healthy enough to make the roster? Will spots open up for David Price and Craig Kimbrel?

Eric Karros and Steve Sax will throw out the first pitch before Game 1. Walker Buehler will throw out the first pitch before Game 2. With Buehler’s luck, he’ll probably need Tommy John surgery again after that.

There is no day off between Game 4 (in San Diego) and Game 5 (at Dodger Stadium), though that shouldn’t mean much considering the travel distance.


Poll results

We asked, “Who would you rather the Dodgers face, the Padres or Mets?” After 9,153 votes, the results:

Padres, 81.7%
Mets, 18.3%

Stat preview

Let’s compare the two teams this season.

Dodgers, 111-51
Padres, 89-73

Runs per game
Dodgers, 5.23
Padres, 4.35

Batting average
Dodgers, .257
Padres, .241

On-base %
Dodgers, .333
Padres, .318

Slugging %
Dodgers, .442
Padres, .382

Dodgers, 325
Padres, 276

Dodgers, 31
Padres, 18

Home runs
Dodgers, 212
Padres, 153

Stolen bases
Dodgers, 98
Padres 49

Dodgers, 607
Padres, 574

Dodgers, 1,374
Padres, 1,327

Keep in mind that the Padres play in an extreme pitchers’ park, while the Dodgers play in a slight hitters’ park, so the gap is not as big as it appears here, but the Dodgers are better.


Dodgers, 2.80
Padres, 3.81

Rotation ERA
Dodgers, 2.75
Padres, 3.80

Bullpen ERA
Dodgers, 2.87
Padres, 3.83

Dodgers, 1.048
Padres, 1.199

Hits per 9 IP
Dodgers, 6.9
Padres, 7.9

Walks per 9 IP
Dodgers, 2.5
Padres, 2.9

Strikeouts per 9 IP
Dodgers, 9.1
Padres, 9.0

Padres, 48
Dodgers, 43

Blown saves
Padres, 22
Dodgers, 18

Inherited runners who scored %
Dodgers, 26%
Padres, 40%

Keep in mind that the Padres play in an extreme pitchers’ park, while the Dodgers play in a slight hitters’ park, so the gap is bigger than it appears here.

Comparing the teams at each position. All numbers are only with that team, so, for example, Soto’s numbers don’t include his time with Washington:


Will Smith, .260/.343/.465, 120 OPS+
vs. Padres in 2022: .277/.385/.539

Austin Nola, .251/.321/.329, 91 OPS+
vs. Dodgers: .163/.245/.186

First base

Freddie Freeman: .325/.407/.511, 152 OPS+
vs. Padres: .343/.434/.552

Wil Myers: .261/.315/.398, 108 OPS+
vs. Dodgers: .211/.296/.237


Brandon Drury: .238/.290/.435, 109 OPS+
vs. Dodgers: .261/.333/.478

Second base

Gavin Lux: .276/.346/.399, 105 OPS+
vs. Padres: .138/.167/.207

Jake Cronenworth: .240/.333/.394, 113 OPS+
vs. Dodgers: .176/.218/.270

Third base

Justin Turner: .278/.350/.438, 116 OPS+
vs. Padres: .306/.351/.735

Note: You could also switch Turner and put him at DH with Max Muncy going here.

Manny Machado: .298/.366/.531, 159 OPS+
vs. Dodgers: .254/.324/.478


Trea Turner: .298/.343/.466, 121 OPS+
vs. Padres: .317/.349/.481

Ha-Seong Kim: .251/.325/.383, 107 OPS+
vs. Dodgers: .136/.239/.186

Left field

Joey Gallo: .162/.277/.393, 83 OPS+
vs. Padres: .111/.111/.111 (3 for 27)


Trayce Thompson: .268/.364/.537, 164 OPS+
vs. Padres: .179/.281/.500

Jurickson Profar: .243/.331/.391, 111 OPS+
vs. Dodgers: .222/.260/.347

Center field

Cody Bellinger: .210/.265/.389, 78 OPS+
vs. Padres: .196/.246/.500, 114 OPS+

Trent Grisham: .184/.284/.341, 83 OPS+
vs. Dodgers: .100/.178/.250

Right field

Mookie Betts: .269/.340/.533, 136 OPS+
vs. Padres: .361/.474/.705

Juan Soto: .236/.388/.390, 130 OPS+
vs. Dodgers: .184/.380/.184

Designated hitter

Max Muncy: .196/.329/.384, 96 OPS+
vs. Padres: .196/.354/.392

Josh Bell: .192/.316/.271, 75 OPS+
vs. Dodgers: .171/.209/.171

Factoring in defense, I would give the Dodgers the edge at every position except second and third, with them even at left (if Thompson plays, otherwise Padres have edge if Gallo plays) and center.

Dodger possible NLDS pitchers vs. Padres this season

Alex Vesia, 0.00 ERA, 8.1 IP, 4 hits, 3 walks, 11 K’s
Chris Martin, 0.00 ERA, 5.2 IP, 4 hits, 0 walks, 7 K’s
David Price, 0.00 ERA, 3.2 IP, 1 hit, 2 walks, 3 K’s, 1 save
Caleb Ferguson, 0.00 ERA, 3 IP, 2 hits, 3 walks, 5 K’s
Tommy Kahnle, 0.00 ERA, 2 IP, 1 hit, 0 walks, 3 K’s, 1 save
Blake Treinen, 0.00 ERA, 1 IP, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 K’s
Andrew Heaney, 0.66 ERA, 13.2 IP, 10 hits, 4 walks, 15 K’s
Tony Gonsolin, 0.71 ERA, 12.2 IP, 7 hits, 1 walk, 14 K’s
Clayton Kershaw, 0.75 ERA, 12 IP, 8 hits, 1 walk, 11 K’s
Evan Phillips, 1.13 ERA, 8 IP, 4 hits, 1 walk, 10 K’s
Julio Urías, 1.50 ERA, 24 IP, 15 hits, 10 walks, 18 K’s
Tyler Anderson, 1.88 ERA, 24 IP, 15 hits, 6 walks, 16 K’s
Craig Kimbrel, 3.00 ERA, 9 IP, 5 hits, 4 walks, 8 K’s, 1 save
Yency Almonte, 5.40 ERA, 1.2 IP, 1 hit, 0 walks, 2 K’s
Brusdar Graterol, 6.75 ERA, 2.2 IP, 4 hits, 1 walk, 3 K’s
Dustin May, 8.10 ERA, 10 IP, 9 hits, 8 walks, 8 K’s
Dodgers overall vs. Padres: 1.92 ERA, 173.2 IP, 121 hits, 57 walks, 168 K’s

Padres possible NLDS pitchers vs. Dodgers this season

Steven Wilson, 0.00 ERA, 8.1 IP, 4 hits, 3 walks, 10 K’s
Josh Hader, 0.00 ERA, 3 IP, 1 hit, 1 walk, 5 K’s
Robert Suarez, 1.80 ERA, 5 IP, 5 hits, 1 walk, 6 K’s
Yu Darvish, 2.52 ERA, 25 IP, 18 hits, 5 walks, 31 K’s
Joe Musgrove, 3.63 ERA, 17.1 IP, 15 hits, 6 walks, 23 K’s
Blake Snell, 3.86 ERA, 14 IP, 12 hits, 10 walks, 23 K’s
Nick Martinez, 4.15 ERA, 8.2 IP, 6 hits, 8 walks, 7 K’s
Adrian Morejon, 7.94 ERA, 5.2 IP, 4 hits, 1 walk, 3 K’s
Tim Hill, 9.00 ERA, 6 IP, 7 hits, 3 walks, 3 K’s
Mike Clevinger, 9.69 ERA, 13 IP, 16 hits, 4 walks, 11 K’s
Luis Garcia, 9.95 ERA, 6.1 IP, 10 hits, 3 walks, 7 K’s
Pierce Johnson, 10.13 ERA, 2.2 IP, 4 hits, 1 walk, 4 K’s
Sean Manaea, 11.72 ERA, 17.2 IP, 28 hits, 5 walks, 21 K’s
Padres overall vs. Dodgers: 5.55 ERA, 167 IP, 158 hits, 67 walks, 183 K’s

Dodgers against Mike Clevinger

Lifetime, including the postseason:

Hanser Alberto, 1.000, 1 for 1, 1 double
Will Smith, .500, 4 for 8, 2 homers
Gavin Lux, .500, 1 for 2
Mookie Betts, .467, 7 for 15, 1 double, 1 triple
Trea Turner, .400, 4 for 10
Trayce Thompson, .400, 2 for 5, 1 homer
Max Muncy, .333, 2 for 6, 1 homer
Chris Taylor, .333, 1 for 3
Justin Turner, .250, 1 for 4
Freddie Freeman, .143, 1 for 7
Joey Gallo, .083, 1 for 12
Cody Bellinger, .000, 0 for 4
Austin Barnes, .000, 0 for 2
Team: .314/.396/.547, 3 doubles, 1 triple, 5 homers

Padres against Urías

Lifetime, including the postseason:

vs. Julio Urías

Manny Machado, .370, 10 for 27, 4 homers
Josh Bell, .333, 3 for 9
Jose Azocar, .333, 2 for 6
Austin Nola, .200, 3 for 15
Brandon Drury, .200, 1 for 5
Jurickson Profar, .125, 2 for 16
Wil Myers, .120, 3 for 25, 1 double
Jake Cronenworth, .118, 2 for 17, 1 double, 1 homer
Juan Soto, .056, 1 for 18, 1 homer
Ha-Seong Jim, .000, 0 for 9
Trent Grisham, .000, 0 for 7
Team: .165, 2 doubles, 6 homers

What Vin Scully meant to you

Drew Taylor of Huntington Beach: I met Vin Scully once when I was about 7 or 8 years old. A relative knew Vin and made arrangements for us to go up to the press box to meet him during a Dodger game. While I don’t remember many details, I do remember how warm and inviting Vin was. He treated me like I was someone special and had every right to be there in that press box. A true testament to the tremendous human being that Vin was.

Roger Bloom of Huntington Beach: Thanks for printing the ninth inning of Sandy Koufax‘s perfect game. That’s my memory. I was a 9-year-old kid and by 9:41 p.m. my entire universe consisted of just me sitting in a chair at our kitchen table, a transistor radio, the voice of Vin Scully, and a glass of chocolate milk that I gripped but didn’t drink for the longest five minutes ever. I don’t remember a whole lot from when I was 9, but I remember those five minutes like they were yesterday. When it was over, I felt like Vinny and I had participated in something grand and historic. It made me feel I could do great things, and I feel that still.

Rick Bartlett of Fair Oaks: As a young boy in love with baseball I always looked forward to visiting my grandparents, at least in part because of the wonderful radio in my grandfather’s Cadillac — its rich tones perfectly suited for a baseball game. While everyone else was inside eating canapés and drinking martinis, I’d be stretched across the big leather seat in my grandfather’s car, letting Vinny’s voice wash over. Pure bliss.

Up next

Tonight: Padres at Dodgers, 6:30 p.m., FS1
Wednesday: Padres at Dodgers, 5:30 p.m., FS1
Friday: Dodgers at Padres, Time TBD, FS1
*Saturday: Dodgers at Padres, Time TBD, FS1
*Sunday: Padres at Dodgers, Time TBD, FS1

*—if necessary

Stories you might have missed

Hernández: Dodgers don’t overthink this decision and wisely pick Julio Urías for Game 1

Plaschke: The ‘Adorable Little Padres?’ Dodger fans should know there is plenty to hate

Julio Urías will start for Dodgers in Game 1 of NLDS against Padres

Haunting memories of last year are driving Max Muncy this postseason

Nine concerns the Dodgers should have about facing the Padres in the NLDS

Chris Taylor determined to play in NLDS; Dodgers mulling playoff pitching staff

After bumpy start, Freddie Freeman finally feels at home with Dodgers

Dodgers roundtable: After 111 wins, can they get the 11 most-important ones?

Shaikin: Forget Frick. Time to put Vin Scully’s name on this award

And finally

Golf announcer Vin Scully describes the agony of trying to get out of a pot bunker. Watch and listen here.

Until next time...

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