The Padres brought postseason baseball back to San Diego with a bang on Friday night, eeking out a 2-1 win behind excellent pitching. Now, the Padres have a chance to eliminate the 111-win Dodgers and at least temporarily erase their status as the little brother in the rivalry. Will the Dodgers suffer another October disappointment?
Let’s take a look at starting lineups, betting odds, and predictions for Saturday night’s game at Petco Park.
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Diego Padres Betting Odds
The Padres enter as pretty clear home favorites at -180 on the moneyline. It’s pretty jarring to see that kind of line, and Dodgers +155 might be attractive to anyone who remembers how unfazed the Dodgers were against the Giants in last year’s NLDS. Between Joe Musgrove and the serious momentum behind this team, however, the Padres have earned their status as the favorite.
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Diego Padres Picks & Prediction
My pick: Dodgers Moneyline (+155)
I’m not all out on the Dodgers yet. They overcame a 2-1 NLDS deficit last season and didn’t win 111 games by coincidence. Tyler Anderson has been extremely consistent this season, and while we have yet to see him do it in a postseason setting for the Dodgers, a steady outing may be all LA needs.
The Dodgers’ lineup remains arguably the most talented in baseball and just needs to take advantage of a few of the opportunities they missed in Game 3. I like their chances of breaking through offensively with the season on the line.
Los Angeles Dodgers Starting Lineup
RF M. Betts R
SS T. Turner R
1B F. Freeman L
C W. Smith R
DH M. Muncy L
3B J. Turner R
LF C. Taylor R
CF C. Bellinger L
2B G. Lux L
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Joe Musgrove
I’ll admit the narrative is in the Padres’ favor here. Musgrove is a San Diego native and will be on the mound with a chance to seal the Padres’ first NLCS berth since 1998. Can he do it? If he’s as dominant as he was against the Mets, when the pressure couldn’t have been more intense, the Padres should win this game.
That wasn’t the Joe Musgrove the Dodgers saw this season, for the most part. Musgrove had a 3.68 ERA over three starts against LA, which is fine but serves as a reminder that these Dodgers can hit. Overall, Musgrove had a strong season, posting a 2.93 ERA over 30 starts with a 3.59 FIP and 1.08 WHIP.
The Dodgers didn’t take advantage of opportunities in Game 3, but they also didn’t hit the ball very hard. The latter is what needs to be fixed first. A lineup with three perennial MVP candidates has had a hard time touching the Padres’ bullpen, and Musgrove might just bring more of the same electric stuff that the bullpen has.
Fortunately for the Dodgers, a heavily-used San Diego bullpen could be at risk of burnout if Musgrove doesn’t last long in this game. The Dodgers have some of baseball’s smartest hitters, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they started to get a feel for the relievers they’ve struggled against.
San Diego Padres Starting Lineup
SS H. Kim R
RF J. Soto L
3B M. Machado R
DH J. Bell S
1B B. Drury R
2B J. Cronenworth L
LF J. Profar S
C A. Nola R
CF J. Azocar R
San Diego Padres vs. Tyler Anderson
Tyler Anderson had a tremendous breakthrough year for the Dodgers, finishing 15-5 with a 2.57 ERA, 3.31 FIP, 1.00 WHIP, and 138 strikeouts. Anderson pitches to contact, but it’s soft contact – his 0.7 HR/9 rate is a great sign against these Padres, who don’t thrive on the home run but have plenty of guys who can hit the ball out of the park on any given day (as we’ve seen with Trent Grisham and Jake Cronenworth).
Anderson has been ultra-reliable this year. He’s allowed 3 ER or fewer in 26 of 30 starts and is generally able to give the Dodgers at least six innings. Anderson has had major success against San Diego this season, posting a 1.88 ERA over four starts and keeping hits to a minimum.
The Padres have been getting huge contributions from the outskirts of their lineup, including Grisham, Cronenworth, and even Austin Nola. The top of the lineup will have to step it up to beat Anderson. Machado walked three times in Game 3, but that wouldn’t be the case if Josh Bell would start making the Dodgers pay for it.
Juan Soto hit the ball very hard in Game 3 and might be on the verge of a breakout – that would be a difference-maker for San Diego. It still feels like the Padres can’t just rely on the occasional big hit if they want to achieve their biggest goals this October.