The Dodgers open their playoff run with a Tuesday matchup at home against the Padres in Game 1 of the NLDS. It’s been almost a week since Dave Roberts’ ball club made its last start, but the number one seed in the National League cannot afford to take a lot of time to get going, with a relatively short five-game series at hand.
The Friars underachieved all season long, but come in riding a big momentum wave having just knocked off the 101-win New York Mets in the wild card round, A big series win that involved a Game 1 thrashing of three-time Cy Young Award-winning future Hall of Famer Max Scherzer, and the first one-hitter in the history of postseason winner-take-all games, behind Joe Musgrove’s superb seven innings in Game 3.
As we discussed earlier, the Dodgers were always going to be faced with a tough challenge right off the bat, even though the Padres don’t have an 100+ win campaign in their resume, this is a star-studded team capable of much more than what they’ve accomplished in the regular year. But the best-case scenario did occur for the Dodgers, and it directly affects Game 1 of this series.
Although the Padres took care of business pretty early in Game 3, and didn’t have to sweat late, holding down a 6-0 lead, the fact that the series went three games meant that Bob Melvin had to use all of his top starters, in Yu Darvish, Blake Snell, Joe Musgrove, successively. Because of that, none of them are available for Game 1.
The impact of the wild card round shouldn’t be overstated as the Padres will be able to line up their starting pitching as they wish from Game 2 on. But as far as Game 1 is concerned, the Dodgers will have a clear advantage with Cy Young candidate Julio Urías going toe-to-toe with the struggling right-hander. Mike Clevinger.
The challenge for Urías is to remain effective despite facing the Padres for the fourth time since September 3. If history is any indication, the visiting lineup is in for a long evening, as the Dodgers’ ace has collected three quality starts in his four outings versus San Diego this season, allowing four runs and 15 hits in 24 innings, with 18 strikeouts and eight walks.
On the opposite side of this pitching matchup, Clevinger will look to build off his final start of the season, when the right-hander out-dueled Dylan Cease and the White Sox on October 1, tossing six innings of one-run ball while allowing only three hits.
It was a tough outing for Clevinger every time he saw the Dodgers’ lineup this season, allowing 14 runs in 13 innings in three regular season starts.
This history in the regular season is interesting to look at, and will probably be touched on as a narrative depending on the outcome of Game 1, but in both of these pitcher’s cases, those head-to-head results are only a reflection of each pitcher’s entire body of work in 2022.
Urías dominated the Padres as he did with most MLB teams he faced, and Clevinger struggled versus the Dodgers as he did for most of the year in his return from a long-term injury.
The Dodgers won 14 of 19 games in the regular season versus their division rivals, but it’s a clean slate for the NLDS, and Roberts’ team will need to be in top shape to come out on top of this series.
NLDS Game 1 info
Teams: Dodgers (111-51) vs. Padres (89-73)
Location: Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles
Time: 6:37 p.m.