SAN DIEGO – One area where the Dodgers struggled last October was the lack of energy compared to what the Padres brought to the table in the National League Series.
It’s something the Dodgers have had to sit and think about all winter while also watching the Padres make some hilarious moves. Despite being an NL West class for over a decade, it felt like the Dodgers came into this season as a forgotten team in the division.
In the first meeting between the two NL West rivals, it was the Padres who threw the first batter in front of a raucous crowd. But on Saturday, the Dodgers showed more urgency and struck it again, defeating the Padres 2-1 at Petco Park.
said Dodgers coach Danny Lehmann, who served as acting manager while Dave Roberts attended his son’s college graduation.
The day began with Clayton Kershaw answering questions about a meme that was displayed on the Petco Park scoreboard after Friday’s game. It was a picture of Kershaw sitting in the dugout with fake tears running down his face.
“If you don’t like it, play better,” Kershaw said.
In fact, the Dodgers played better on Saturday.
After a pair of erratic games, Dustin May was looking for a solid starting rebounding, and the right fielder put in his best performance of the season, showing much better control on all his pitches against the aggressive Padres lineup.
Right fielder Fernando Tatis Jr. told the Padres, “That guy was tough on the mound today. When you have a guy like that, you have to play the peppers with him. There’s not much you can do. If he misses something, that’s when you take advantage of him. But he is.” He was playing good pitches from the start of the match.”
May set the tone early when he went over the mound after hitting Juan Soto with a diving knees drop. It’s usually right-handed, but there was a bit of extra gear on the hill on Saturday. May finished the night with six strikeouts and allowed only three hits in six scoreless innings.
“It was huge to go out and zero in on the players and be able to go out with the lead and let the bulls take over,” May said. “He played really good defence. He kicked the ball when we needed it and it was a really good game.”
With May and the bullpen keeping the Padres in check, the Dodgers managed to get enough of offense against Blake Snell, who was solid again against Los Angeles. Snell allowed only one hit over six innings pitched, but it was a big one, as Chris Taylor hit a holding changeup off left hand for a two-run homer in the fourth inning.
Taylor, who is off to another slow start at the plate, has been more productive lately. Over his last five games, Taylor was 7-for-16 with a homer and five RBIs.
“I feel more comfortable in the penalty area, more relaxed and I feel like I see the ball better,” said Taylor. “Just being comfortable with everything and not trying to feel a thing and then getting results helps too.”
Whether every team wanted to admit it or not, there was a different level of intensity on the field for the regular season game played on May 6th. And this is what everyone should expect in the 11 meetings between two teams with talented rosters. This time, it was the Dodgers’ turn to beat a close quarterback.
“The atmosphere here is really cool,” said Lyman. “It’s fun to play in. The players love it. … Today was a good day.”
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