A seven-game stretch full of statements and bluster will come to an end Sunday, and the matchup will not resume until the heat rises both literally and figuratively.
Projected to be two of the better teams in the National League, the San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers have not disappointed in a highly anticipated run of games in two separate series over a 10-day stretch.
Each team has won three games in the run, with a tie-breaking seventh game to take place Sunday evening at Dodger Stadium and on national television, no less. They won’t play each other again until late June at San Diego and won’t be together again in Los Angeles until September.
A pair of right-handers will meet Sunday when the Padres’ Joe Musgrove (2-2, 1.04 ERA) faces the Dodgers’ Dustin May (1-1, 2.93).
The Dodgers won the latest test of wills, earning a 5-4 victory Saturday night when Corey Seager had a two-run single in a three-run sixth inning. Seager had two hits after going 2-for-24 in his previous six games.
The Padres have had an erratic start to the season at 12-11, but they have shown the best version of themselves against the Dodgers. After winning the finale of a three-game series at San Diego last weekend, the Padres won the first two in this weekend’s matchup in L.A.
San Diego’s Fernando Tatis Jr. has been especially brilliant of late, hitting two home runs in Friday’s 6-1 victory, and another two Saturday to give him six on the season. The only other visiting player to hit multiple home runs in consecutive games at Dodger Stadium was Barry Bonds in 2002.
“The biggest rivalry in baseball,” Tatis said. “Everybody can feel it; everybody can see it. Just the games that we’re playing, it’s a blessing to be a part of it.”
Musgrove will be facing the Dodgers from the mound for the first time this season, but he already has seen action in the series. He played in the outfield during a wild 12-inning affair on April 16 in the first meeting of the season between the teams. He even recorded a putout in left field during the Dodgers’ 11-6 victory.
In three career starts against the Dodgers, Musgrove is 0-3 while posting a 5.40 ERA over 16 2/3 innings. His lone start at Dodger Stadium came in 2019 as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates, and he gave up just one earned run (three overall) over 6 2/3 innings.
The Dodgers have gone through a week’s worth of offensive struggles but showed signs of an emergence Saturday. After collecting a meager 23 hits and 11 runs over their previous six games, the Dodgers had 12 hits Saturday.
“It’s just continuing to take good at-bats, get guys on base and hopefully some balls find some holes,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “Keep going. We’re facing some good arms, guys are making some good pitches. They get up to play us. I still love our offense and we have to keep taking good at-bats.”
–Field Level Media