It wasn’t pretty, and it wasn’t the powerful display that brought these two divisional rivals to their first postseason series against each other, but in the end it was a statement.
The Los Angeles Dodgers didn’t record a hit for the first five innings, but thanks to 10 walks, a wild pitch, and an error, they defeated the San Diego Padres, 5-1, in Game 1 of the National League Division Series at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.
After swiftly dispatching of the Milwaukee Brewers in the Wild Card Round, the Dodgers were revamped and reloaded for the rival Padres in Game 1.
Their ace Walker Buehler was back on the mound, battling not just the Padres’ hitters, but also a blister on the right-index finger of his throwing hand.
For the second straight start, Buehler struggled with his command, issuing an uncommon four walks, one of which came back to bite him.
Buehler issued a one-out walk to Wil Myers in the fourth inning, and the Padres’ right-fielder stole second one batter later.
Throughout the first three innings, Buehler danced and darted his way out of damage, even escaping a bases loaded with one out jam in the second inning. However, he wasn’t able to escape the fourth after Austin Nola hit an RBI single to left field that scored Myers, giving San Diego an early 1-0 lead.
San Diego ace Mike Clevinger, who was acquired from the Cleveland Indians at the Aug. 31 trade deadline, did not appear in the Wild Card series against the St. Louis Cardinals because of soreness in his right bicep.
After throwing just one inning in the last three weeks, Clevinger was added to the NLDS roster and made the start in Game 1. He looked good in the first inning, but after a long layover between innings, he made just two pitches in the second inning before leaving the game with tightness in the same bicep.
Including Clevinger, the Padres used nine pitchers over the course of the game, but that recipe for disaster caught up with them in the fifth and sixth inning.
Garret Richard walked two batters in the bottom of the fourth inning, and Los Angeles tied the game on an error by Jake Cronenworth that Eric Hosmer couldn’t handle at first base, allowing the tying run to score without the Dodgers recording a hit.
Things changed in the bottom of the fifth inning when Mookie Betts got the Dodgers first hit of the game with a double down the left field line.
Justin Turner, Max Muncy, and Cody Bellinger all followed with hits of their own and thanks to some more charity on the part of the Padres, the Dodgers rallied for a four-run sixth inning and a 5-1 lead.
The bullpen for the Boys in Blue did the rest from them, obliterating the Padres hitters as Dustin May, Victor Gonzalez, Blake Treinen, and Kenley Jansen combined for five scoreless innings of relief.