Dodgers Dugout: Here’s why the Padres aren’t the Dodgers’ biggest rival

Clayton Kershaw
(Morry Gash / Associated Press)

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell. I hope all the moms out there had a great Mother’s Day.

The Dodgers and Padres have played each other six times in the last 10 days with the Dodgers winning five of those. And while watching, you can tell that these games mean much, much more to the Padres and their fans than they do to the Dodgers and their fans. I mean, after their lone win, some genius who operates the Padres scoreboard put up a picture of Clayton Kershaw with fake tears, with “Padres win” in the background.

When the Dodgers beat the Padres, their scoreboard operator treats it like any other win, because it is.

There are dozens of videos on social media showing Padres fans in their stadium chanting “Beat LA,” which is often the nicest thing they chant about the Dodgers.

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Even Padres pitcher Joe Musgrove noticed, saying after Saturday’s loss that he is, “tired of hearing that. ... I think we, as a group in here, got to stop talking about these guys like they’re that unbeatable force.”

But really, it’s OK that fans and players are invested. It’s good for the sport, and it’s part of being a fan. As long as you are good-natured about it and aren’t rude to other fans, chanting “Beat LA” is harmless and viewing the Dodgers as your team’s biggest threat is harmless.

But here’s where it becomes bothersome. Last week, during the ESPN broadcast of the Dodgers-Padres, the ESPN announcer asked Mookie Betts which is bigger, the Dodgers-Padres rivalry or the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry.

Please. The Padres aren’t even the Dodgers’ biggest rival, the Giants are. And it’s really not that close. The Dodgers and Giants are like brothers who have a big sibling rivalry. They want to beat each other in everything. The Dodgers-Giants rivalry stretches back for decades. The Dodgers have won 24 NL pennants, the Giants 23. The Giants have won eight World Series titles, the Dodgers seven. When Bruce Bochy retired, the Dodgers honored him before his final game at Dodger Stadium. When Vin Scully died during a Giants game, the Giants put it on their videoboard with a nice message and the fans gave him a standing ovation. Sure, sometimes the fans go way overboard, but the teams respect each other while also trying everything they can do to make sure the other team never wins.


The Dodgers and Padres are like ... well, you know we all know someone who shows up at parties, tries to flirt with all the women, who hangs around and basically ends any party they attend? They do things (like the crying Kershaw meme) they think are funny and cute, but everyone just rolls their eyes? You can’t wait for them to leave, but deep down you sort of feel sad for them because they just have no social skills whatsoever? That’s the Padres. Sure, sometimes they pull a clever prank (or win a playoff series), but then they usually regress to their old selves.

So, while ESPN and Fox understandably want to push this “tremendous Dodgers-Padres” rivalry in order to boost ratings, they should know better. The Giants always have been and probably always will be the biggest rival.

Sorry to go off on a rant here. This isn’t to say the Padres don’t have a good team or aren’t capable of winning it all this year. They do and can. It’s just laughable to call them the Dodgers’ biggest rival.

Condolences to Clayton Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw’s mother, Marianne Tombaugh, died Saturday. And while any time a mom dies is sad, it seems worse for it to happen on Mother’s Day weekend.

“She experienced no greater joy than watching her son grow into the man, the philanthropist, the father and the ball player he is today,” Kershaw’s wife, Ellen said. “[She] moved mountains to get him to baseball practice and games. She sat front row cheering him on — not so subtly — and would keep score in a book to keep her nerves at bay. So today, we dedicate this field to his sweet mom.”

Kershaw is expected to make his next start on Tuesday and then go on the bereavement list. “It’s not surprising,” Dave Roberts said of Kershaw’s desire to pitch. “And then, once he makes his start, I’m sure there’s gonna be some things that are gonna take place he’ll take part in, a ceremony or service, if that’s what they choose.”


This serves as a reminder to us all. When we get mad at a player for having an off game, or an off series of games, or for making an error or seeming distracted, we don’t know what the player is dealing with in his personal life. Maybe he went 0 for four with four strikeouts because his pet had to be put down. Or his kid is very sick and he was up all night with them. Or there was a death in the family. Or any number of sad situations we all have to deal with in life. When my mom died several years ago, I didn’t have to worry about 50,000 people at work, hundreds of thousands of people on TV and untold numbers of social media criticizing or booing me if I made a typo, or missed deadline. Athletes have to do this. So, keep that in mind the next time a player has an off day or boots a couple of balls.

And all our best to Kershaw and his family during this time.

Breaking down the record

Overall: 26-15

Run differential: +56

Home: 15-6

Road: 11-9

March: 1-1

April: 15-12

May: 10-2

Extra-inning games: 1-0

One-run games: 4-3

Blowout games (decided by 5+ runs): 10-6

vs. teams above .500: 6-3

vs. teams .500 or below: 20-12

Great minds think alike

Others have noticed the left-handed pitchers-Trayce Thompson situation.

Roster moves

With J.D. Martinez off the injured list and Caleb Ferguson back from paternity leave, the Dodgers sent Michael Busch and pitcher Wander Suero to the minors. Busch needs to play every day and languishing on the bench in the majors does his career no favors.

These names look familiar

How members of the 2022 Dodgers who are now with other teams are doing this season (through Saturday). Tap on the name of the player to be taken to their full stats.


Hanser Alberto, White Sox: .255/.300/.491, 4 doubles, 3 homers, 113 OPS+

Eddy Alvarez, Brewers: in the minors


Cody Bellinger, Cubs: .270/.338/.496, 9 doubles, 1 triple, 7 homers, 126 OPS+

Joey Gallo, Twins: .209/.333/.570, 5 doubles, 1 triple, 8 homers, 146 OPS+

Jake Lamb, Angels: in the minors

Zach McKinstry, Tigers: .267/.347/.395, 3 doubles, 2 homers, 109 OPS+

Kevin Pillar, Braves: .270/.299/.460, 3 doubles, 3 homers, 103 OPS+

Edwin Ríos, Cubs: in the minors


Justin Turner, Red Sox: .272/.370/.395, 9 doubles, 3 homers, 108 OPS+

Trea Turner, Phillies: .256/.307/.402, 8 doubles, 2 triples, 4 homers, 95 OPS+

Tony Wolters, Twins: in the minors


Tyler Anderson, Angels: 1-0, 5.26 ERA, 37.2 IP, 42 hits, 19 walks, 25 K’s

Garrett Cleavinger, Rays: on the 60-day IL


Shane Greene, free agent

Andrew Heaney, Rangers: 2-3, 5.25 ERA, 36 IP, 28 hits, 16 walks, 38 K’s

Heath Hembree, Tigers: in the minors

Tommy Kahnle, Yankees: on the 60-day IL

Craig Kimbrel, Phillies: 0-0, 5.00 ERA, 9 IP, 8 hits, 6 walks, 11 K’s, 2 saves

Chris Martin, Red Sox: 0-1, 2.57 ERA, 7 IP, 8 hits, 1 walks, 2 K’s, on 15-day IL


Reyes Moronta, Angels: in the minor

David Price, retired

Mitch White, Blue Jays: on the 15-day IL

Wat Vin Scully meant to me

Last season, after Vin Scully died, I asked readers to send in what he meant to them. I ran them the rest of the season and wanted to circle back and run the rest, which will take a few weeks at least. If you wish to contribute (if you sent it to me last season, I still have it, so no need to send again), please email it to and put Vin Scully in the subject line.

From Jerry Steckloff of Jacksonville, Fla.: It was a cold and snowy March day in suburban New York — 1957 and I was nearly 8 years old. I had accompanied my grandfather to the A&P and as we walked down the aisle I could distinctively hear from someone’s transistor radio, “the palm trees are gently swaying in the warm breeze here at Holman Stadium in Vero Beach and it’s time once again for Dodger baseball“. I was ecstatic to hear Vin’s voice as I had no idea the season was so near on the horizon. I remembered that picture forever.

The Dodgers soon left Brooklyn and Dodger games started at 11 p.m. on the East Coast. Often I could pick them up with a lot of static and fading in and out with my LaFayette short wave radio and special antenna. Although the sound of Vin Scully’s voice provided me one of my best and earliest baseball memories I was unable to hear him again for half a century. But in 2007 I purchased the MLB package on TV and once again could listen to the master artist paint his pictures during every home game.


It was a long time but we’ll worth the wait. And in a sense Vin Scully has bookmarked my life.

From Jack Jabbour: I became a Dodger fan when I was 10 years old in 1957, but unlike millions of Brooklyn and Los Angeles fans, I didn’t get to listen to Vin Scully call their games until my family moved west in 1962. KFI (640 AM) was the 50,000 watt Dodger flagship from 1960-1973, and at night it was as clear as could be even in Northern California. Vinny was my connection to my favorite team.

When I was doing my Air Force ROTC survival training at Pendleton in 1968, I put my transistor radio in my extra pair of socks and volunteered for guard duty, so I could listen to Vinny as Don Drysdale pursued Walter Johnson‘s consecutive scoreless innings record.

Even after the Dodgers switched to a smaller station, I would try to tune it in and strain to listen for Vin’s distinctive voice among what my wife Linda called “scratchy radio,” all the way out in Colorado.

My Dad, living in Solana Beach, would record Dodger games and mail them to me so I could hear Vinny, even in Colorado.

Go rest high upon that mountain, Vinny.

From Rachel Sitea of West Point, Calif.: In the ‘60s, Vin and the Dodgers permeated my family’s raison d’être. We knew we had the coolest team and announcer in baseball. In the ‘70s, we moved out of LA; to leave Vin and the team hurt as much as leaving our relations and friends. His national broadcasting became a lifeline for us ex-Angelenos.

When he wasn’t the TV broadcaster for a network game, we always muted the TV and tuned him in on the radio. Later, with baseball channels beyond our means, we hunted for L.A. games on a shortwave. I once had a case of Dodger peanuts shipped to my parents in Portland.

To witness people so eloquently describing Vin’s dazzling talents and virtues is a joy to behold. Among sports announcers, only Vin could turn a radio into a TV because, when it comes to live action, only he knew how to make radio fully visual. To then deftly blend in stats, anecdotes, tales, comments, and conversational asides made him an artist who was always at the top of his game.


Book giveaway

My new book on the Dodgers, “If These Walls Could Talk: Stories from the Dodgers Dugout, Locker Room, and Press Box” is available now online and in most bookstores. However, I have some copies available for a free giveaway to readers of this newsletter. Just email me at and put in the subject: Free Book. I will conduct a random drawing and give away 10 signed books (or not signed, if you prefer). Also include what you would like the inscription to say and who it should be signed to. If I get enough entries, I might expand it to 10 books, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself. If you already sent an email, please don’t send another one. You have until Wednesday night at midnight to enter. I’ll announce the winners next Monday.

Up next

Monday: Minnesota (Pablo López, 2-2, 3.47 ERA) at Dodgers (Noah Syndergaard, 1-3, 6.12 ERA), 7:10 p.m., SportsNet LA, AM 570, KTNQ 1020

Tuesday: Minnesota (Bailey Ober, 2-0, 1.85 ERA) at Dodgers (*Clayton Kershaw, 6-2, 2.36 ERA), 7:10 p.m., SportsNet LA, AM 570, KTNQ 1020

Wednesday: Minnesota (Sonny Gray, 4-0, 1.39 ERA) at Dodgers (Dustin May, 4-1, 2.68 ERA), 12:10 p.m., SportsNet LA, AM 570, KTNQ 1020


In case you missed it

Clayton Kershaw’s mother dies; he plans to pitch Tuesday

Hernández: Mookie Betts is playing at his peak. Will he sustain it through October?


Dodgers hope that Chris Taylor, known for streaky hitting, is starting to find groove

And finally

Tommy Lasorda tells stories about Don Zimmer. Watch and listen here.

Until next time...

Have a comment or something you’d like to see in a future Dodgers newsletter? Email me at, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.