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Simulating the Dodgers’ 2020 season: Games 31 and 32 vs. Padres

The Dodgers face off against San Diego for the first time this season.

MLB: Spring Training-Los Angeles Dodgers at Colorado Rockies Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

This is the 24th installment of an ongoing series, where my dad and I will simulate each game on the Dodgers schedule until real Dodger baseball returns. Catch up on the rest of the series here! Thanks all for the comments and support!

Welcome back! Last time out, we were swept by the Twins in an interleague doubleheader. We’ll be looking to break out of the slump this weekend against the Padres, our first matchup against them so far this season.

It’s a three-game series in San Diego, where the Padres have a division-best 12-5 home record. The 18-13 Padres are in third place in the NL West, 3 games behind the Diamondbacks and 2 12 games behind us. Old friend Manny Machado (.250/.305/.379) may be struggling, but 21-year-old shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. (.292/.398/.487) is certainly not.

First up: Alex Wood (3-1, 1.49 ERA) against Zach Davies (2-3, 2.72 ERA).

It’s time for the games! Watch it here or scroll below to find out what happened. If you want to be notified when we go live with future simulations and chime in with your live feedback and/or input on managerial decisions, follow me on Twitch!

My dad recommended we move Max Muncy back up to the #2 slot in the batting lineup for this one, and his decision was rewarded early. Muncy went yard against Zach Davies in the top of the first, hitting a 409 foot blast to right field to give the Dodgers an early 1-0 lead.

The Dodgers expanded on that lead in the top of the fourth for Alex Wood. Justin Turner led off the inning with a double, and Cody Bellinger doubled him home. After walks to Corey Seager and Gavin Lux, Wood came up to bat with the bases loaded and two outs. The pitcher singled through the middle, scoring Bellinger and Seager. The next batter, Mookie Betts, doubled, scoring Lux and making it 5-0 Dodgers.

Alex Wood cruised through the first five innings of the game, giving up just two hits with no walks. But he ran into some problems in the bottom of the sixth. Austin Hedges led off with a double, and Franchy Cordero doubled him to third. Wood walked the pinch hitter Wil Myers to load the bases with nobody out, and Tommy Pham singled Hedges home. Jurickson Profar hit a sac fly to center, scoring Cordero, and Wil Myers scored on a Fernando Tatis Jr. groundout. All told, it was three runs on three hits for the Padres, and the Dodgers maintained a 5-3 lead.

With the score still 5-3, Scott Alexander came in to pitch the seventh. After getting Trent Grisham to ground out to third to lead off the inning, Alexander gave up back-to-back singles to Eric Hosmer and Hedges. But the lefty rebounded, striking out Cordero and getting the pinch hitter Greg Garcia to ground out to get out of the inning with no harm done.

Cody Bellinger hit a 438-foot blast in the top of the eighth to make it 6-3, and Mookie Betts hit a home run to left in the top of the ninth for a 7-3 lead. After a scoreless eighth for Pedro Baez, we brought in the struggling Kenley Jansen to close this one out.

Jansen started the inning by walking Grisham, but quickly rebounded to strike out Hosmer and Hedges. After Franchy Cordero singled, we considered pulling Kenley, but he struck out the pinch hitter Francisco Mejia to end the game, 7-3 Dodgers.

Here’s the box score:

With the first game in the books, we were hoping Walker Buehler (1-3, 2.59 ERA) could best some of his demons from the last few games up against Mackenzie Gore (1-1, 1.42 ERA).

We were wrong.

In each of the first two innings and three of the first four, the Padres led their half of the inning with back-to-back singles off of Buehler. The righty managed to make his way out of most of those jams, giving up just one run in that stretch (thanks in part to an outfield assist by Mookie Betts that threw Trent Grisham out at home), but there were jams in nearly every inning he pitched.

Trailing 1-0, the Dodgers put together a rally against Gore in the top of the third. With one out, Kiké Hernández and Corey Seager hit back-to-back singles, and Cody Bellinger walked to laod the bases. Justin Turner hit a hard single up the middle, scoring Hernández and Seager and taking a 2-1 Dodger lead.

Buehler finally pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the fifth (notably, the first batter of that inning was the pitcher), and did it again in the sixth. We decided to keep him out there for the seventh, with a short leash, because of his recent successes in the game. That was a mistake.

After striking out Eric Hosmer to lead off the inning, Buehler gave up back-to-back singles yet again: this time to Franchy Cordero and Francisco Mejia. With two on and one out in the one-run game, we brought in Joe Kelly to face the pinch hitter Wil Myers.

Kelly’s brief stint in the game was a disaster. After walking Myers on four pitches, he gave up a sac fly to Tommy Pham and a two-run double to Jurickson Profar, giving the Padres a 4-2 lead.

In the top of the eighth, the Dodgers had an opportunity to bring it back against reliever Drew Pomeranz. Justin Turner and Max Muncy walked to lead off the inning, and after much deliberation with a lefty on the mound, the lefty Joc Pederson bunted Turner and Muncy over to third. But Austin Barnes and Chris Taylor both struck out, ending the inning.

Blake Treinen gave up a run in the bottom of the eighth, expanding the Padres lead to 5-2, and it all came down to the top of the ninth for the Dodgers, with Kirby Yates on the mound for San Diego. Mookie Betts led off the inning with a walk, and with one out Corey Seager singled him to second, bringing up Cody Bellinger as the tying run. But Bellinger struck out on three pitches and Justin Turner grounded out to end the game, giving the Padres a 5-2 win and tying the series 1-1.

Here’s the box score:

Next time: the rubber match of this series, as David Price (5-1, 2.97 ERA) takes on Jacob Nix (3-1, 2.73 ERA). See you then!