NLDS: Players To Watch

Dodgers v Padres. To us, the best matchup out of any division series. Especially considering these teams have both played each other 10 times this year.

Overall the Dodgers went 6-4 in the season series, winning both of the 3 game series, and splitting the 4 game series. As an all around baseball enthusiast, they were some of the best games of the year.

And now we get possibly 5 more matchups between these heated division rivals. Everyone knows the Dodgers are better than the Padres on paper and should win the series.

However, anything can happen in a best of 5 especially when neither team has had a win streak longer than 2 against the opponent this year. And if you haven’t read it yet, read our NLDS Preview Analysis for a position by position breakdown.

So this time, we wanted to point out all the players too watch on both sides.

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Highlights

  • Dodgers To Watch
  • Padres To Watch
  • Matchups To Watch

Dodgers To Watch

So first off, we have 5 Dodgers who stood out when playing the Padres this year. The first will surprise no one in Mookie Betts.

Mookie Betts

Mookie went 12 for 29 against the Padres this year. That included 3 homers, a double, 2 walks, 7 runs scored, 5 RBI, and 3 SB for good measure. Granted he went 4-4 against Perdomo with 2 of those homers, and he’s not on the Padre’s NLDS roster. And it’s also worth mentioning that he’s 4-7 against Clevinger in his career.

The second best standout will actually surprise some people. But that doesn’t change the fact that Austin “Mini Betts” Barnes was a Padre eater this year.

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Austin Barnes

He went 5 for 14 with a 2B, a homer, 3 BB, 4 RBI, and a stolen base. All together he slashed .357/.471/.643 against the Padres this year. It appears that Kershaw won’t be giving up any offensive support with Barnes catching him this series.

After him comes the postseason master.

Chris Taylor

He went 12 for 23 against SD this year. And he was a statistical monster with 7 runs scored, 3 RBI, 3 doubles, 3 walks, a triple, and a home run. Overall he has a monster slash line of .353/.421/.588 to cross the elite 1.000 OPS mark.

And the last Dodger to watch based on previous performance is the Fresh Prince, Will Smith. It seems as though the Dodgers are about to get consistent catching production for the first time in years.

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Will Smith

Smith went 5-17 with 6 RBI, 3 BB, 2 doubles, and 2 runs scored. Although it isn’t stellar to OPS .812, we particularly like his ability to knock in runs without the long ball.

And finally, the pitcher to watch in our opinion is none other that,

Clayton Kershaw

We’ll start off by saying that a career record and ERA against a team doesn’t really mean anything, but his career stats vs these batters do. And this Padres lineup is only slashing .204/.221/.400 against Kershaw in their lifetime.

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Padres To Watch

And now for the underdogs. Because of the amount of late roster moves by the Padres, we were only able to find 3 of their offensive players with enough positive history against the Dodgers this year to highlight. But luckily the Padres have a couple pitchers worth looking at as well.

The first being, the most underrated Padre this year in our opinion.

Wil Myers

Myers was always viewed as a star just waiting to reach his potential. This was the year he finally found it. Unfortunately for the Dodgers, they were a big help with that.

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He went 12-33 this year with 6 runs scored, 3 doubles, 3 walks, 3 homers, and 3 RBI. All in all he slashed a stellar .364/.417/.727 against Dodger pitching. And surprisingly the Padres have him 6th in the lineup for game 1. And he has at least a hit against every Dodger starter not named Dustin. He’s looking to put his mark on this series.

Now even we were stunned with this next ridiculous slashing line. It’s .333/.438/.593 for an OPS of 1.031. We assumed Tatis or Machado would have a line like this, but not even close. This is actually,

Jurickson Profar

He quietly went 9-27 against the boys in blue. He scored 6 runs, knocked in 4 more, hit 2 homers, walked 5 times, and had a double in the mix. And the Padres have their best matchups at the bottom of the lineup again, putting Profar in the 9 spot for game 1.

The last Padre we want to highlight for the series is Mr. Bat Flip, Grisham.

Trent Grisham

We all know that Grisham has had his moments against the Dodgers this year, but all in all he was closer to good and not great. He went 7-31, slashing .226/.385/.452.

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While the average was low, he’s hit the Dodgers hard and has made them pitch. He had 8 walks, a double, 2 homers, 3 RBI, 5 runs scored, and even a stolen base. But part of the reason we think he’s poised to do something this series is the opportunity and matchups.

His 2 home runs came off of Buehler and Kershaw. He also is leading off for the Padres in at least game 1. He may not hit a lot, but he can cause a lot of mayhem with his skillset.

Zach Davies

Zach Davies was probably the most pleasant surprise of the year for Padres fans. And even though he was 0-2 against the Dodgers this year that was hardly his fault. He pitched 2 quality starts against one of the best lineups in baseball. One a 7 inning, 2 run gem. The second being a 6 inning, 3 run affair. And 4 of his last 5 starts (one of which was the Dodgers) were quality starts.

Mike Clevinger

Clevinger is a massive question mark this series. He’s scheduled to start game 1 but hasn’t pitched more than an inning since his injury. Only two Dodgers have ever seen him in person. And while those Dodgers have hits against him, he and the lineup are mostly a mystery to one another. We have no clue how this will go, but we do know he’s a must watch in game 1.

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Best Hitting Matchups

  • Betts vs. Clevinger

Betts is one of 2 Dodgers to bat against Clevinger and the only one to do it more than once. And he hits him well. He’s 4-7 with 2 walks, a triple, 4 RBI, and an OPS of 1.524. The Padres traded for Clevinger and the Dodgers signed Betts for these matchup moments.

  • Seager vs. Paddack

Paddack had a rough year against the Dodgers. As a team they OPS’d 1.092 against him. They tagged him for 9 total runs, including 4 homers, in 37 at bats.

But Seager saw him just a bit better than anyone else. He went 3-4 against him with 2 runs, 2 RBI, a double, and a homer. And while Paddack may not pitch game 2, he’s practically guaranteed at least one start this series. Overall he’s 4 for 8 against Paddack lifetime with a 1.625 OPS.

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  • Beaty vs Paddack

Beaty has only had 5 AB’s against Paddack, but he must see him well to go 3 for 5, with a walk and 2 of those being doubles. Overall that’s good for a 1.667 OPS.

  • Muncy vs. Paddack

Muncy went 0-4 against Paddack this year. But this was a bad and unlucky year for Muncy. Before that he was 3-6 with 2 doubles, a homer, and 2 BB’s against Paddack. Regular season doesn’t matter if Muncy can come through now.

  • Turner vs. Davies

Davies was the best Padres pitcher against the Dodgers not named Lamet. Overall he pitched quality starts only giving up 5 runs to them this year. But Turner wasn’t fooled. He went 4 for 6 with a run scored and an RBI. All of the hits were singles, but with where he hits and who’s ahead of him, Turner will be looking to drive in some runs with this matchup.

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  • Hosmer vs Kershaw

Hosmer didn’t see Kershaw this year, and Kershaw was very happy. Hosmer is 9 for 27 against Kershaw in his lifetime. That includes 2 doubles, a homer, a walk, and 4 RBI. The only leftie who has hit Kershaw that well in at least 25 ABs is Charlie Blackmon, and he had coors field to help.

  • Machado vs Kershaw

Machado has had 18 chances against Kershaw. He’s had 5 hits with 2 of those being homers. But in total he has 6 RBIS against Kershaw to go with an OPS of .889. Among active players, that’s the 9th best OPS against Kersh.

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  • Hosmer vs May

Hosmer sees May, like Turner sees Davies. He’s 4 for 8 lifetime, all singles, and with 3 RBI. If May starts a game, this should one one of his biggest challenges.

  • Profar vs Gonsolin

Only 5 Padres even have hits against Gonsolin. Only 8 hits total. And 3 of those go to Profar. One of which was a double. That gives him a 1.750 OPS against Gonsolin in their short career against one another.

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