A capsule look at the best-of-five playoff series between the San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers in Arlington, Texas, beginning Tuesday:
Season Series: Dodgers won 6-4.
SAN DIEGO PADRES
Playoff Entry: second place, NL West.
Playoff Seed: No. 4.
Manager: Jayce Tingler (first season).
Projected Rotation: RHP Chris Paddack (4-5, 4.73 ERA, 58 Ks in 59 IP), RHP Zach Davies (7-4, 2.73), RHP Dinelson Lamet (3-1, 2.09), RHP Mike Clevinger (3-2, 3.02 with Indians and Padres; 2-1, 2.84 in 4 starts for San Diego after trade).
Top Hitters: SS Fernando Tatis Jr. (.277, 17 HRs, 45 RBIs, 11 SBs), 3B Manny Machado (.304, 16, 47), RF Wil Myers (.288, 15, 40).
Top Relievers: RHP Trevor Rosenthal (1-0, 1.90 ERA, 4 saves), LHP Drew Pomeranz (1-0, 1.45, 4 saves, 29 Ks, 10 BBs).
Series Summary: The Padres are in the playoffs for the first time in 14 years, and they overcame an old nemesis in the first round by rallying past St. Louis 2-1 in a best-of-three set to win a postseason series for the first time in 22 years. San Diego was eliminated by the Cardinals in the Division Series in three of its previous four postseason appearances (1996, 2005 and 2006). … The rotation remains a huge question mark because of injuries to Clevinger (elbow impingement) and Lamet (biceps tightness), who exited early from their final regular-season starts. It was uncertain whether either one would be available against the Dodgers. … Paddack and Davies combined to give up 10 earned runs and 13 hits over 4 1/3 innings in two starts against St. Louis. Craig Stammen and eight fellow relievers combined on a four-hitter for a 4-0 win in Game 3. The nine pitchers marked the most used in a nine-inning shutout in any big league game since at least 1901. San Diego became the first team in baseball history to use eight or more pitchers in three straight postseason games. … San Diego is led offensively by two NL MVP contenders in Tatis and Machado. Tatis was hot early before cooling off in the final two weeks of the regular season. However, he homered twice in the final three games and then had a big playoff series against the Cardinals — as did Myers and rookie 2B Jake Cronenworth. … Machado started slowly but came on strong to help carry the Padres down the stretch. … Tatis and Machado were part of the “Slam Diego” barrage of four grand slams in four straight games and five slams in six games in late August. Both were firsts in MLB history. … Myers has had a nice bounce-back season and also been a big factor in the Padres’ turnaround. … Cronenworth is a leading contender for Rookie of the Year after hitting .284 with four homers and 20 RBIs. He has been impressive defensively, particularly while filling in at first base early in the season when Eric Hosmer was out with a stomach ailment. … GM A.J. Preller made six deals just before the trade deadline, bolstering the rotation, bullpen and the catching position. … With 2019 MLB saves leader Kirby Yates out for the season with bone chips in his right elbow, the Padres obtained Rosenthal from Kansas City on Aug. 29 to lock down the closer’s role.
LOS ANGELES DODGERS
Playoff Entry: NL West champions.
Playoff Seed: No. 1.
Manager: Dave Roberts (fifth season).
Projected Rotation: RHP Walker Buehler (1-0, 3.44 ERA, 42 Ks), LHP Clayton Kershaw (6-2, 2.16, 62 Ks), RHP Tony Gonsolin (2-2, 2.31, 46 Ks), RHP Dustin May (3-1, 2.57, 44 Ks), LHP Julio Urías (3-0, 3.27, 45 Ks).
Top Hitters: SS Corey Seager (.307, 15 HRs, 41 RBIs, 38 runs, 12 doubles, .943 OPS), RF Mookie Betts (.292, 16, 39, 47 runs, 10 SBs, .928 OPS), C Will Smith (.289, 8, 25, .980 OPS), LF AJ Pollock (.276, 16, 34, .881 OPS), 3B Justin Turner (.307, 4, 23, .860 OPS), CF Cody Bellinger (.239, 12, 30, .789 OPS).
Top Relievers: RHP Kenley Jansen (3-1, 3.33 ERA, 11 saves), RHP Blake Treinen (3-3, 3.86, 1 save), RHP Joe Kelly (0-0, 1.80), RHP Pedro Báez (0-0, 3.18, 2 saves), RHP Brusdar Graterol (1-2, 3.09), RHP Dylan Floro (3-0, 2.59).
Series Summary: The Dodgers won their eighth straight NL West title with baseball’s best record but are still looking for their first World Series championship since 1988. They made back-to-back World Series appearances in 2017 (lost to Houston in seven games) and 2018 (lost to Boston with Betts on the Red Sox roster). They won a franchise-record 106 games last year and didn’t make it out of the Division Series. … Los Angeles dispatched No. 8 seed Milwaukee in the first round, sweeping two home games and outscoring the banged-up Brewers 7-2. Kershaw struck out 13 over eight innings of three-hit ball to win the clincher 3-0. Buehler, dealing with a blister issue, lasted four innings in the opener before Urías won in relief. … The Dodgers were in first place for much of the shortened season and pulled away from the upstart Padres to win the division by six games. Bellinger, the reigning NL MVP, Max Muncy (.192) and Joc Pederson (.190) are looking to bust out of their season-long slumps this postseason, although the offense received an unexpected boost from Pollock, Smith and Chris Taylor (.270). Turner’s exploits in October have made him one of the franchise’s greatest postseason performers, but he’s been hobbled of late. He was on the injured list with a strained hamstring in September and tweaked his thumb on the last weekend of the season. He went 0 for 8 against Milwaukee. … One of the Dodgers’ biggest weapons is their depth. They move players in and out of multiple positions frequently — Betts even started at second base. Roberts has so many options at his disposal that even someone who has a breakout game could be sat down in favor of someone else. Keep an eye again on Kershaw, considered by many the greatest pitcher of his generation — but he’s often struggled in the playoffs. The three-time Cy Young Award winner is 10-11 with a 4.22 ERA in the postseason.