Are the Padres Better Than the Dodgers or Does it Just Seem That Way?
I don't know about you, but when I do my scoreboard watching, it seems as though every time an opponent grabs a lead against them, the Padres come roaring back.
It just happened Tuesday and Wednesday in San Diego victories over the Rockies at Petco Park, with the Pads winning 1-0 in the bottom of the ninth Monday. But are the Padres better than the Dodgers or does it just seem that way?
Well, Los Angeles has the best record in baseball at 32-12 and leads the National League West by 4 1/2 games. The Pads have the fifth best record in baseball at 28-17.
S.D. has won eight of its last 10. L.A. has also won eight of 10.
The Dodgers are 15-7 at home and 17-5 on the road. The Padres are 15-6 and home and 13-11 on the road, which could be meaningful in October.
Los Angeles has the game's highest run differential at +101. San Diego is second-best at +65.
The Padres have arguably the best and most compelling player in baseball leading the attack in Fernando Tatis, Jr., who's hitting .303/.399/.640 with 15 home runs, 39 RBIs and eight steals in eight attempts. Mookie Betts is no slouch at .307/.380/.613 with 14 homers, 33 RBIs and six stolen bases in seven tries.
Behind Tatis, Jr. the Pads have Manny Machado thriving at .306/.374/.584, 12 and 27. L.A. counters with Corey Seager, who's hitting .311/.364/.596, 11 and 31.
Rookie second baseman Jake Croneworth has been a revelation, hitting .323/.379/.551 with 4 HR and 23 RBIs for San Diego, while Dodgers' second baseman have produced to the tune of .209/.290/.354, five and 18.
Dodgers first basemen are hitting .209/.303/.417, with 10 homers and 18 runs driven in. San Diego's first basemen are at .264/.318/.545, 12 and 42.
The Pads will likely start Zach Davies (7-2, 2.48 ERA, 0.957 WHIP), Dinelson Lamet (2-1, 2.24, 0.917) and the acquired-from-Cleveland Mike Clevenger (2-2, 3.74, 1.337) to begin the playoffs. The Dodgers may lead with Clayton Kershaw (5-1, 1.98, 0.780), Walker Buehler (1-0, 3.86, 1.010) and Dustin May (1-1, 2.88, 1.107).
L.A. starters combine for a 13-4 record, a 3.30 ERA, a 1.085 WHIP and 199 strikeouts in 213 innings. S.D. starters are at 15-11, 3.66, 1.161, with 234 Ks in 224 innings.
Dodgers relievers sport a 19-8 mark, with a 2.49 ERA, a 1.040 WHIP, with 181 strikeouts in 184 2/3. Padres relievers are at 13-6, 4.73, 1.352, 174 in 169.
With two out and runners in scoring position, the L.A. staff holds batters to a .189/.259/.283 slash line with two homers. "Late & close" for the Dodgers = .197/.292/.283 with five home runs allowed. S.D.'s pitchers are at .276/.358/.487 with eight homers allowed. Late & close = .244/.336/.338 with seven home runs allowed.
Los Angeles ranks 13th among 15 NL teams in errors committed at 29 and 10th in fielding percentage at .982. San Diego ranks eighth with 26 and fourth at .984, respectively.
The Padres have 18 come-from-behind wins, four walkoff wins and two walkoff losses. The Dodgers have 15 come-from-behind-wins, two walkoff wins and one walkoff loss.
The Dodgers are 5-1 in extra inning games, 6-5 in one-run games and 10-2 in interleague play. The Pads are 3-0 in extras, 6-7 in one-run games and 11-4 in interleague.
Los Angeles leads the season series versus San Diego four games to three, with three to play at Petco next Monday through Wednesday.
The Pads have 11 men on their 40-man roster with postseason experience. The Dodgers have 28.
So what are we to draw from all this? The Dodgers and Padres are good, and perhaps great teams. Both of them are. One or the other may be eliminated in the first round of the 2020 postseason or the two may meet in the National League Championship Series to decide their fate.
But no, while it may seem to be the case at times, no objective observer can say that the Padres are better than the Dodgers as we sit here on September 10, 2020. More will be revealed. I suggest you stay tuned, and I know you will.
And remember, glove conquers all.
Howard Cole has been writing about baseball on the internet since Y2K. Follow him on Twitter.