The Dodgers on Game 1 of NLDS

Wednesday, October 7, 2020
Copyrighted by Sarah Morris, 2020

Tuesday, the Los Angeles Dodgers began the NLDS with a 5-to-1 victory over the upstart San Diego Padres.

While the Dodgers could have played better than they did Tuesday, the Padres’ postseason inexperience was evident. After missing the Wild Card series against the Saint Louis Cardinals, Mike Clevinger, who came to San Diego on the trading deadline from the Cleveland Indians, could pitch only an inning. He tried to begin the second inning, but he had a sharp decrease in velocity. Since September 23rd, Clevinger had been dealt with elbow infringement. Although after the game, Clevinger said that he would return in the NLDS, the likelihood of seeing Clevinger in the series is slim.

While the Dodgers can handle a bullpen game after an easy Wild Card series victory against the Milwaukee Brewers, the Padres could not after they used their bullpen a ton during their Wild Card series against the Saint Louis Cardinals. Tuesday, the Padres used nine pitchers who issued ten walks. Despite wasting numerous scoring opportunities and not getting a hit until the fifth inning, the Dodgers showed patience and confidence. In the fifth, Corey Seager’s sacrifice fly, Justin Turner’s right-field single, Max Muncy’s double, and an error by Jake Croneworth on a routine groundball by Cody Bellinger were keys to the Dodger offense.

Walker Buehler was uncharacteristically wild, but he had dealt with a blister since August 15th. He allowed a run in four innings. When Buehler had not pitched much in the last six weeks, control problems are expected. Nevertheless, when he was in a jam, he could get out of the jam.

Unlike the Padres whose bullpen depth is questionable, the Dodgers had the best bullpen in the Major Leagues during the 2020 season. Right-hander Dustin May, who dominated the Padres during the regular season, performed flawlessly in two innings. Victor González pitched well for an inning. Blake Treinen pitched for 1.1 marvelous innings. Kenley Jansen closed out of the game with conviction.

In the first game of the NLDS, the Dodgers’ tremendous playoff experience showed. They did not misplay balls or chase balls of the strike zone. Their offense was a little weak, but probably succeeded wearing out of the Padres’ bullpen for the rest of the NLDS. They could keep both Fernando Tatis, Jr. and Manny Machado, who are keys to the Padre offense, quiet.

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