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The new scarcity of divisional games like Dodgers vs. Padres

Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Milwaukee Brewers 10-1 during a MLB baseball game.
“Only two NL West series after this weekend until August?”
Photo by Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images

The Dodgers and Padres meet for the second straight weekend, but after these three games won’t see each other until August. A byproduct of MLB’s new, more balanced schedule is fewer divisional games, with increased importance on each matchup.

That definitely played into the Dodgers’ decision last weekend to shuffle their rotation, lining up Clayton Kershaw, Dustin May, and Julio Urías to pitch in San Diego. May and Urías will pitch the first two games of this series in Los Angeles, with a now-healthy Tony Gonsolin going in Sunday’s series finale.

Under the new schedule format, teams play divisional foes 13 times per year instead of 19, four series instead of six. The bulk of those lost divisional games are now interleague matchups, with each team playing all 15 teams in the other league every season.

Dodgers-Padres series in 2023

Dates Location
Dates Location
May 5-7 Petco Park
May 12-14 Dodger Stadium
Aug. 4-7 Petco Park
Sep. 11-13 Dodger Stadium

Nineteen games against one team is a lot in one season. It’s exciting when it’s like Dodgers-Padres for most of the last few years, but can be a slog when it’s Dodgers-Rockies. Scarcity adds more important to each meeting.

The Dodgers are 9-7 against the National League West this season. Sixteen games are tied for third-most divisional games thus far by any major league team. Only the Marlins (5-12 against the NL East) and D-backs (9-9 against the NL West) have played more games within their division.

The next two and a half months for the Dodgers are light on divisional games. After this weekend, they have only two series against the NL West over a 66-game stretch — hosting the Giants from June 16-18, and playing the Rockies at Coors Field from June 27-29.

Divisional games are plentiful over the final two months, with 13 games in August and 14 more in September (including October 1), with LA’s last 11 games against the NL West.

These divisional games are more rare than before, so let’s enjoy them when we get them.

Game info

  • Teams: Dodgers vs. Padres
  • Starting pitchers: Dustin May vs. Blake Snell
  • Ballpark: Dodger Stadium
  • Time: 7:10 p.m. PT
  • TV: SportsNet LA, MLB Network (out of market)
  • Radio: AM 570 (English); KTNQ 1020 (Spanish)