ARLINGTON, Texas – The Los Angeles Dodgers completed a streak of rival NL West San Diego with a 1
The two best teams in the National League will face off in a seven-game series starting Monday. The ALDS, with Houston and the winner of the ALDS Game 5 of New York and Tampa Bay, will begin on Sunday.
The Dodgers remain clear favorites to win the World Series, and after seeing how they smoothed out the Padres in three games, it’s easy to see why.
In every game, the Dodgers showed championship characteristics. Their throws interrupted the Padres ‘dangerous line-up in Game 1. Their defense that stole home runs maintained a close win in Game 2. And in Game 3, the Dodgers’ attack, relatively dormant in these playoffs, was woke up with fury, driven by Will Smith, who became the first catcher and ninth overall player to record five successes in a post-season game.
Smith capped his outburst with a double baseload in the ninth inning and finished 5 for 6 with three RBI. Los Angeles’ four runs in the ninth inning were quite a bookend for the third inning as the Dodgers put the game out of reach.
After 2-1, Los Angeles had five runs, three of them with two outs and after a curious intentional walk. Rather than facing Cody Bellinger, the Padres allowed A.J. Pollock to tie a run-score single on the left field before Joc Pederson followed him with a two-run single to extend the lead to 6-2.
From there, the Dodgers set cruise control and returned to the NLCS for the fourth time in five years. In 2016 they lost to the Chicago Cubs. In 2017 and 2018, they won the pennant only to fall to the Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox, both of whom were later disciplined by the commissioner’s office for illicit sign theft. Last year, they were spectacularly ousted during the division series by eventual champion, Washington.
This season, the Dodgers have ensured that they would not suffer a similar fate. Their 43-17 regular season record secured them the number 1 seed in the postseason, and Los Angeles quickly took care of Milwaukee in the wild card round. The Padres, their NL West rivals, were a bigger but limping threat. Their starter this season, Dinelson Lamet, did not pitch in the postseason due to an arm injury, and Mike Clevinger, the starter they signed on expiration, went out in the second inning of Game 1 due to arm problems. .
The Dodgers spent the season relatively healthy, which allowed them to withstand the barrage of looks San Diego threw at them in Game 3. The Padres used a playoff record of 11 pitchers and 24 players in the game. Volume could not match the excellence of the Dodgers.
They move on to the NLCS with a pertinent question: Will Kenley Jansen, who has been closest for a long time, keep his job after a troubling speed drop? – and some smaller ones who tend to answer for themselves. All general questions are answered.
Do the Dodgers have the talent to win their first World Series since 1988? Certainly.
Will the Braves, with their devastating lineup and crack bullpen, be their biggest challenge? Absolutely. Will this NLCS be memorable? Whether it ends with the return of the Dodgers to the World Series or with Atlanta since 1999, for sure.