Despite a strong outing from Clayton Kershaw, the Los Angeles Dodgers could not put an end to the San Diego Padres’ winning streak that was extended to eight games with a 7-2 victory in Monday’s opener at Petco Park.
In what was a pitchers’ duel early on, Kershaw had limited the Padres to just one run on three hits through six innings. After running into a bit of trouble in the seventh, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts went to the bullpen.
The combination of Pedro Baez and Blake Treinen was not effective — albeit hurt by soft contact and miscues — as they combined to allow three hits and three runs (one earned) before getting out of the inning.
The Padres would add an insurance run in the eighth to solidify what was arguably their biggest win of the season. The victory pulled them to within 1.5 games of the first-place Dodgers in the National League West standings.
Despite the lack of fans in attendance, Monday’s opener had the feel of a playoff environment. Kershaw, however, doesn’t believe fans being present makes a difference in the intensity of a series.
“I’m tired of hearing that excuse. We’re not going to play with fans. They’re 1.5 (games) back now. These games matter,” he said after the loss. “If you want to be the one seed, it matters.
“To say, ‘Hey, I can’t get up for games’ or ‘I’m losing adrenaline because there’s no fans,’ well, figure it out. I don’t want to hear that. Our guys have done a good job and we’ll get ’em tomorrow.”
While the young Padres rose to the occasion, Roberts believes the Dodgers matched them in terms of intensity. “I did. We had the one really bad inning on the defensive side, but yeah, I really did,” he said.
“I thought Lamet threw the ball well, I thought Clayton threw the ball really well, and it was a tight ballgame. It was a good baseball game up until that seventh inning.”
With only 12 games remaining in the regular season, Roberts acknowledged the Dodgers are still adjusting to the reality of playing without fans.
“We’re getting used to it, but I think big series like this, players feed off the fans’ energy. That’s what spectators, fans love,” he said.
“They love coming to a ballpark and watching the best compete against one another. But I think when it comes down to playing baseball, it’s just us against them. I’m sure they felt the energy at home.”
Andrew Friedman welcomes potential postseason matchup with Padres
With the Padres well on their way to their first postseason appearance since 2006, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman welcomed the possibility of the two teams facing off in October.
“They are a very formidable team,” he recently said. “We knew and expected that A.J. would be aggressive. Look forward to playing them in September, and who knows, maybe October as well.”
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