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The Dodgers and Padres are getting set for their first matchup of the 2023 season this weekend in San Diego. This is the first time the teams are matching up since last year’s NLDS, when the Padres upset the Dodgers in four games and ended their historic season.

The teams both struggled early this season, but are entering this series playing as well as they have all year long. The Dodgers have won six in a row, ending their perfect homestand with a walk-off grand slam courtesy of Max Muncy. As for the Padres, they’ve won four of their last five games against the Giants and Reds.

With this being the first matchup between these two teams since last year’s postseason, the storylines are obviously revolving around that series. Muncy was asked about that loss, and gave his thoughts on why it went the way it did (per Jack Harris of the LA Times).

“When you lose in that sort of fashion, I think that stings a lot more than just being outplayed,” Muncy said. “Obviously, everyone is gonna say they outplayed us, and that’s probably true. But to me, it was more, they just brought so much more energy and were so much hungrier for it.”

The good news is Muncy said the Dodgers learned a valuable lesson from that postseason loss.

“I think we learned that lesson that you have to learn how to play with emotion,” Muncy said. “During the regular season, we’ve always been so successful because we stay level-headed throughout the entire thing. You can’t play 162 with emotion. But, when we reach the playoffs, we have trouble flipping that switch.”

Hopefully the Dodgers are able to flip that switch come postseason time. Many have speculated that a less dominant regular season where they’re playing important games all the way through could help.

We saw in 2021 how much emotion they were playing with against the Giants in the postseason after battling to the last game of the regular season for the division — however, the Dodgers ultimately just ran out of gas at the end of the year.

This season, they’ll try to find the perfect balance. They’ll also try to finally put last year’s disappointing loss behind them. Hopefully, a series with the Padres finally does just that. This one is sure to feel like more than just a regular matchup in May, though.