The Padres certainly have a way of stealing the headlines. And that’s not a bad thing, always, especially as the Padres do it by being one of the few teams that are constantly adding good players. Even great ones at times. Which they kind of have to, given that they’re in a division with the Dodgers. Last year they were trying to avoid having their season defined by merely nine innings in the coin flip game…which they did by not coming close to the playoffs anyway. This year there’s still the pretty chancey three-game wildcard round, so the Padres are doing the best they can to ensure that will go their way with Juan Soto.
They were the darlings of everyone after the trade deadline…which was good enough to get the Dodgers’ foot up their ass sideways all weekend at Chavez Ravine. The Padres got swept in a three-game series by the tune of a combined score of 20-4. The Dodgers roughed up the Padres’ biggest pitching acquisition of this year in Sean Manaea. They clobbered Mike Clevinger while they were at it. They got a great bullpen game in the second game when Andrew Heaney didn’t get out of the fifth. They got a brilliant start in the finishing game from Tyler Anderson who threw seven shutout innings. Whatever was required, the Dodgers had all the answers. When they didn’t, they changed the questions.
The problem for the Padres, and basically anyone else who isn’t the Mets (and maybe the Mets when it comes down to it) is that the Dodgers already had the good players. And they discover new ones all the time. Take Anderson, who didn’t have an ERA under 4.00 in the last six seasons while parading through four different teams. He shows up to LA, finds a change-up that drops seven more inches than it ever has, and suddenly he’s throwing it a third of the time while watching hitters whiff at it nearly 40 percent of the time. He’s just the latest reclamation project the Dodgers have turned from some dude hopping on freight trains to pass the time into an All-Star, joining Chris Taylor or Max Muncy.
All of it left the Padres 15.5 games behind the Dodgers, and 3.5 games behind the Braves for the right to host that wildcard round. And they’re only 1.5 games ahead of the Brewers that’s keeping them in the playoffs at all.
The Dodgers are content enough to let everyone get tired of them and latch on to whatever the flavor of the month might be, be it the Mets or Padres. They’ll just win games as methodically as possible. It isn’t really galvanizing anymore, as it’s been the case for most of the last decade. But the tsunami doesn’t tend to care what kind of press it gets, does it?
Jacob deGrom is disgusting
Meanwhile, on the other coast, the Mets spent the weekend also kicking seven different kinds of shit out of their closest competitor, the Braves. They gook four of five over the weekend, capped off with Jacob deGrom’s return to Citi Field, where he only struck out 12 of the 17 outs he got, including unfair horseshit like this:
It was his second start in a year.
There’s just something different about deGrom. There are plenty of aces around, and they all can look unhittable at times. Except when they’re on, it just feels like they’re one step ahead of the hitters. When deGrom is on, it looks like he’s armed with something from a different planet that MLB just forgot to rule on. It’s like he’s harnessed the power of a far-away star. The hitter is ancillary to the whole process.
It seems that October is a bit mapped out, though funny things could happen. Remember when the owners told us they needed a luxury tax and revenue sharing that artificially held down salaries for everyone but the cover story was that it would allow all teams to compete? Well, your LCSs very well may be the two teams from the biggest market, one from the second, and one from the fourth. Good work all around.