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Dodgers, Padres set for the first of many showdowns in 2021

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Los Angeles and San Diego play each other in each of the next two weekends

Los Angeles Dodgers v San Diego Padres Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

The Dodgers and Padres met for the first time in the postseason in 2020, though at a neutral site in Arlington, Texas. After a flurry of moves this offseason, both teams got better, and the next two weekends figure to be exciting matchups, first in San Diego for three games this weekend and then in Los Angeles for four games beginning next Thursday.

Chief among the Padres many upgrades over the winter was trading for three starting pitchers. Blake Snell, last seen by the Dodgers bench breathing a sigh of relief when he was removed in the sixth inning of Game 6 of the World Series, and old friend Yu Darvish were the headliner additions to the San Diego rotation, but the other new guy, Joe Musgrove, already has a no-hitter, something no Padres pitcher had ever done in the first 8,205 games in franchise history.

Dodgers-Padres schedule

Date Time Pitchers TV
Date Time Pitchers TV
Fri, Apr 16 7:10 p.m. Buehler vs. Weathers (L) SNLA/MLBN*
Sat, Apr 17 5:40 p.m. Kershaw (L) vs. Darvish SNLA
Sun, Apr 18 1:10 p.m. Bauer vs. Snell (L) SNLA/MLBN*
*MLB Network available out of market only

“They’re going out and being aggressive and going for it, and it’s good to see teams doing that,” Justin Turner said back in February, when he re-signed in Los Angeles. “The way I look at it now that I’m back here with the Dodgers is, you know, we’re gonna get 19 World Series games this year. So it’ll be a good test for us a good preparation to get ready for the playoffs.”

Others have downplayed the matchup.

“It doesn’t really matter who we’re playing,” said Dustin May. “I feel like we’re going to have a really good team that will go out and compete no matter who we’re playing.”

“It’s obviously going to be a big weekend, but I don’t think we look at it too much like that for us,” Max Muncy said Thursday. “Something that we’re very good at is we take things one day at a time. Today was about the Rockies, and Jackie. Tomorrow will be about the Padres, then after that it will be the next team we play. Each night for us is a new game.”

The Dodgers made a pitching addition of their own, signing the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner in Trevor Bauer, who has allowed only six runs and seven hits in his three starts, with 29 strikeouts in 20 innings.

Bauer starts Sunday against Snell, one day after Clayton Kershaw against Darvish. Those four will also be in line to start next weekend at Dodger Stadium, too. The Dodgers even held back Walker Buehler this week, who will start on six days rest in the series opener at Petco Park on Friday.

“I think you can read into it any way you want. But I think making sure guys are rested and feeling good going into a particular series is the ultimate goal,” manager Dave Roberts said last weekend. “I hesitate to say any more emphasis [on the Padres], but obviously you’re looking at the talent, the build up, we’ll be ready for that series.”

The Dodgers enter Friday on a six-game winning streak, and at 11-2 they own the best record in baseball. At +34, Los Angeles owns the best run differential in the majors, with the Padres fourth in the majors and third in the NL at +17, with a not-too-shabby 9-5 record themselves.

San Diego is likely to get star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. back in time for this series, while the Dodgers are playing it slow with Cody Bellinger, who is currently on the injured list. But there’s still plenty of star power to go around, which should make for an exciting series this weekend in San Diego.