NL West showdown

Storylines To Follow For First NL West Showdown

The rivalry between the San Diego Padres and the Los Angeles Dodgers has become a special storyline for casual baseball fans to follow. Within the Twittersphere, fans from both teams exchange taunts with each other throughout the season. 

It all started with Manny Machado signing with the Padres instead of the Dodgers. Since then, Peter Seidler and company have taken on a Monopoly-like persona, spending money on any player they want to sign. The Padres have transformed their team into a favorite to compete for years to come.

Over the upcoming weeks, the Dodgers and the Padres will meet for the first time this season. The Dodgers are coming off a perfect homestand, having swept the Cardinals and the Phillies. The Padres are currently in third place, two games behind the Dodgers. They recently won a series against the Reds and also swept the Giants in a 2-game series in Mexico City. 

When these two teams face off, the level of competition is raised. The Dodgers have called up top prospect Gavin Stone to align their best pitchers against the Padres. Meanwhile, the Padres will be counting on Fernando Tatis Jr. to bring his best game against their rivals for the first time in almost two years. 

Here are some storylines to follow in this three-game set.

Storylines to Follow This Series

Manny Machado vs Los Angeles (The City)

Since joining the Padres, Manny Machado has become one of MLB’s most notorious players. During a visit to Los Angeles as a member of the Padres, he mischievously made a bet with a fan that the Padres would win a championship before the Dodgers. Anytime he comes up to bat in Los Angeles, he is immediately booed. 

During the upcoming series, Machado will face Clayton Kershaw, Dustin May, and Julio Urias. Last season, he batted .200 against Kershaw, .750 against May, and .545 against Urias. He hit four home runs against the trio, three of them coming off Urias. Machado enjoys his controversial persona and uses it to his advantage. 

With a lineup like the one the Padres have constructed, Machado comes to this series with the upper hand. This matchup should be full of fireworks. Despite being away from home, Dodgers fans in attendance will find a way to make their presence known when they boo him in San Diego. 

A Rivalry Worth So Much

The Dodgers and the Padres have a combined payroll of approximately $462 million. Since the start of the offseason last year, the Padres have signed multiple players to contracts worth millions of dollars, including Machado, Xander Bogarts, and Yu Darvish. The Dodgers have also signed players to contracts worth millions of dollars, including Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, and unfortunately, Trevor Bauer

Both teams are playing on an even playing field. It is only a matter of time before they start throwing bags of money at each other. 

111 Wins? Who Cares

The last time these two teams faced each other was in the 2022 NLDS when the Padres eliminated the 111-win Dodgers. San Diego took down the reigning NL West champions and the narrative of the division, becoming the top dogs and the team to beat. 

After the series, many Dodgers players called it a disappointment. Winning 111 games paved the way for the World Series, but instead, they were sent on an early vacation. 

This will be the first time these teams face each other since the Padres’ series win over the previously unstoppable Dodgers. It is going to be a fun series

Main Photo: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

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