Can Padres Pass Dodgers, Win NL West?

Though the rivalry between the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers goes back to when the two teams played in New York, another team is challenging the boys in blue as their top competition.

For years now, the San Diego Padres have been chasing the Los Angeles Dodgers for the lead in the NL West. It’s been a “Big brother vs. little brother” type of rivalry ever since the new management in San Diego took over and decided they want to win baseball games.

The Dodgers were just starting to get really good again around 2015, which is when the Padres started their current regime. They made the most lopsided trade we’ve seen in a long time in MLB, when they traded washed-up starting pitcher James Shields for Chicago White Sox prospect Fernando Tatis Jr.

Now granted, Tatis has been suspended for taking PEDs and cheating, so we’ll see if he is actually as good as he was, but it still jumpstarted the organization to start winning again.

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Big Names Join San Diego 

In recent years, the Padres have spent millions and millions of dollars to reach the level of Los Angeles. Eric Hosmer and Manny Machado are two guys that immediately come to mind when you talk about huge signings for this team.

Then, of course, they traded for guys like Mike Clevinger, Yu Darvish, Blake Snell, Josh Hader, Juan Soto, and Josh Bell. This is a franchise that has done everything and anything to win their first World Series title but has come up short every year to the dreaded Dodgers in the division.

The Padres have gone a combined 16-32 against the Dodgers in the regular season over the last three years. Will they finally slay the boogeyman in 2023? While they did beat LA in the NLDS this past year, they still haven’t managed to win a division title.

For the 2023 season, the Padres are at +140 at BetMGM sportsbook to win the NL West. They Dodgers are still the favorite at -140.

This may be the year they finally win the title. Xander Bogaerts is the latest dude they have signed to a massive contract, and he brings a force to a lineup that already features Machado, Tatis Jr., Soto, Trent Grisham, and Jake Cronenworth. The pitching rotation features Darvish, Joe Musgrove, Snell, Seth Lugo, and Nick Martinez.

The Padres also added right-hander Brent Honeywell Jr. and he could pick up some starts for the club.

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Dodgers Still Tops in NL West 

The Dodgers are obviously still extremely talented and can throw money around wherever they would like. However, San Diego proved they can beat LA in the NLDS, and they got the proverbial monkey off of their back.

At +130, I don’t think they are that much “worse” than the Dodgers, and perhaps LA will take it easier in the regular season now that their franchise-record 111-win season came crashing down. Maybe they’ll save their players for the playoffs and not focus hard on the regular season.

The Dodgers have been fairly quiet in free agency so far, picking up Noah Syndergaard. If they continue their lack of acquisitions in the offseason it might come back to bite them. They have lost some quality players from last year, including pitchers Tyler Anderson and Andrew Heaney, as well as position players Trea Turner, Cody Bellinger, and Justin Turner.

The Giants would’ve been contenders, but all of their signings fell through in the offseason, and I don’t think they have enough to win the division over LA or SD.

We don’t even have to talk about the Arizona Diamondbacks or Colorado Rockies, two organizations that are stuck in the mud right now. To me, it all comes down to these two teams, and I’ll take the plus-money with San Diego to win the NL West.

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History Playbook

On This Day In Sports History

June 3, 1995 — Pitching for the Montreal Expos, Pedro Martinez retires the first 27 batters to face him in 10 innings and defeats the Padres 1-0 in San Diego.

On This Day In Sports History

June 4, 1974 — Trailing the Texas Rangers 5-3, Cleveland scores 2x in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game. Two fans rush Texas right fielder Jeff Burroughs, causing others to storm the field. The umpires declare the game a forfeit to Texas.