With Sunday's 6-3 loss to the Rockies, an intriguing streak came to an end for the Dodgers.
Yes, it was their first defeat after five consecutive wins. But Sunday's game was also the first time the Dodgers lost since the Padres' Trent Grisham hit a home run off Clayton Kershaw Monday night and showed off just a bit too much afterward.
Grisham stood at home plate to admire his deep drive, turned toward his home dugout for affirmation, and flipped his bat for punctuation. Then to rub it in a bit more, he directed some words at the Dodgers' bench as he approached home plate.
The sixth-inning home run tied the score at 1-1 in an eventual 7-2 win for San Diego. And with first place in the National League West at stake during the three-game series, along with their ascension to contention, the upstart Padres looked like a legitimate challenger to the Dodgers.
Following the game, SI's Howard Cole surmised that Grisham's flex and show of disrespect might wake a sleeping Dodgers team. It certainly got Dave Roberts' attention and the manager addressed the display afterward.
Personally, bat flips and showing emotion in baseball don't bother me. The sport needs personality and joy to demonstrate to newer generations of fans. Major League Baseball is overflowing with young stars (not all of them are on the Padres, though it may seem that way) and the kids should be allowed to get caught up in a big moment and show off a bit.
But what's important is that Grisham's dance and trash talk got the Dodgers' attention. If Los Angeles was a bit lethargic as the regular season neared its end, this was a proverbial jab to the mouth that apparently sharpened the team's focus and strengthened its resolve.
The Dodgers won the final two games of the series and left San Diego still in first place. Any talk about them not having the top seed in the NL playoffs (which admittedly might not matter in this 2020 postseason) became simple chatter. Los Angeles notched three more wins in Colorado before Sunday's loss.
Meanwhile, the Padres lost three of their past five games and are now four games behind the Dodgers with six games remaining on the schedule. And they end the season with four in San Francisco against a Giants team fighting for the NL's final playoff spot. As far as the regular season goes, it's essentially game over.
But it didn't look that way one week ago. The Dodgers looked vulnerable, and the Padres appeared ready to knock them off their pedestal. Whether he realized it or not, Grisham woke the Dodgers up. If the 2020 season ends the way many of us expect, they may owe him a thank you.
Ian Casselberry watchdogs sports media for Awful Announcing. He's covered baseball for SB Nation, Yahoo Sports and MLive, and was one of Bleacher Report's first lead MLB writers. Please follow Ian on Twitter @iancass and give him a listen at The Podcass.