LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers continued their season-long dominance over division rivals Padres with a 5-3 win in Game 1 of the National League Division Series on Tuesday at Dodger Stadium, but Game 2 is expected to be a showdown between a pair of experienced aces in Clayton Kershaw and Yu Darvish on Wednesday.
Kershaw is looking to extend his postseason legacy and see the Dodgers advance to the NL Championship Series for the seventh time in the last 10 seasons, save for one win. And Darvish, who had strong numbers against the Dodgers in the regular season with a 2.52 ERA in four starts, is hoping to even the five-game streak before returning to San Diego for Game 3 on Friday.
“Everyone wants to talk about the odds of winning this game or losing this game or whatever it is,” Dodgers shortstop Trea Turner said. “At the end of the day you just have to win whatever is in front of you and tonight we did it. Tomorrow we have a completely different challenge and they won’t give up. You saw them fight back tonight and had some good at-bats and pitched well late in the game too.”
And while the Dodgers clinched the win in the series opener, marked by five early runs and great performances from Turner and Will Smith at plate, the Padres made them sweat a bit, especially after she scored three runs in the fifth inning against Julio Urías had . The Padres’ right-hander Mike Clevinger struggled, but San Diego’s bullpen threw a combined 5 1/3 innings without success.
“We just have to take that with us until tomorrow,” Padre’s third baseman Manny Machado said. “I think our bullpen did a great job stopping them from scoring so we just have to go out there and do what we did today. They want to win and get at least one on the road. Ultimately we have to put that behind us and come back tomorrow and play like we’ve been playing all year.”
When is the game and how can I see it?
Game 2 starts at 8:37pm ET/5:37 PT and can be seen on FS1.
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Who are the starting pitchers?
Father: Darvish was named NL Pitcher of the Month in September and then pitched seven innings with one-run ball in the Wild Card Series against the Mets. Darvish has been the Padres’ most reliable starter all season, and on his last start at Dodger Stadium, he scored seven goalless goals and made a piece of history in the process as he tied his 3,000th goal between Japan and MLB. strikeout of his career.
Dodgers: After getting injured ahead of the 2021 postseason, Kershaw (12-3, 2.28 ERA) gets a chance to lead the Dodgers in Game 2 against the Padres. Kershaw has been outstanding against the Padres this season, taking a 1-0 lead with a 0.75 ERA in two starts against division rivals.
What are the starting positions?
Father: Ha-Seong Kim moves up to the top spot for the first time this postseason, despite having started there many times against lefties in the regular season. A night after his homer, Wil Myers remains on the starting lineup, as does Brandon Drury, who posted a .955 OPS against lefties during the regular season. Josh Bell stays on the bench.
Here is the Padres’ Game 2 lineup:
Dodgers: The Dodgers lineup for Game 2 doesn’t change much. Despite Darvish’s success against right-handers that season, the club declined to start left-hander Joey Gallo in left field, instead sticking with Trayce Thompson, who started in Game 1.
Here is the Dodgers’ Game 2 lineup:
How will the bullpens line up after the starter?
Father: Darvish has pitched at least six innings in each of his last 24 starts, and the Padres are hoping for more of the same on Wednesday. If they can get length from their starter, Luis García and Robert Suarez would serve as a bridge to nearer Josh Hader. Tim Hill, who fielded a scoreless seventh inning on Tuesday night, is being urged to face tough left-handers.
Dodgers: The Dodgers leaned heavily on their bullpen in Game 1 and there’s no reason to think Game 2 will be any different. Los Angeles should be in a good place with their bullpen, although Alex Vesia could be the only pitcher unavailable after going 1 2/3 innings into Game 1. Evan Phillips, who pitched 26 in Game 1, will also monitored. The Dodgers would also like to stay away from Dustin May.
Who is hot and who isn’t?
Father: Grisham has been in runs in all four postseason games, and he’s just a step behind Jim Leyritz’s franchise record of five games in the RBI playoffs. The bottom of the San Diego order has been excellent for the most part, with Kim and Nola also contributing lately. But the Padres’ DH train from Bell and Drury have combined to go just 3 to 21 this postseason.
Dodgers: Turner was the offensive hero in Game 1, going 2-on-4 with a homer. He struggled late in the regular season but finished strong with a two-goal performance in Game 162 against the Rockies. But it looks like he’s about to start turning things around at the right time.
Betts and Freeman pulled off a combined 0-on-7 with a walk in Game 1, but it would be surprising if they didn’t bounce back in Game 2.
Is there anything else fans would like to know?
• In the history of best-of-five postseason series, Game 1 winners have won series 102 of 144 times (71%). In the Division Series, with the current 2-2-1 format, teams that won Game 1 at their home stadiums have won 34 out of 47 times (72%).
• Darvish and Kershaw have a history. They were teammates in Los Angeles in 2017 and catching partners in the offseason in Texas. That is, until Darvish was sold to the Padres. Amid a divisional rivalry, the two decided to end their off-season training – although they still hold each other in high esteem. Kershaw said: “I have a lot of respect for the way he throws, the way he tackles it. Apparently, [he’s] a big challenge for us.”
• Darvish will start at Dodger Stadium for the first time postseason since losing Game 7 of the 2017 World Series to Houston. Said Darvish, “I feel like I’m a different pitcher than I was then.”