Bob Melvin: Padres Likely Benefitted From Wild Card Series & Pressure On Dodgers

After a 111-win season, the Los Angeles Dodgers had their postseason run ended by the 89-win San Diego Padres in the National League Division Series on Saturday night.

The Padres were one of the three Wild Card teams and upset the New York Mets in a previous best-of-three series to advance to the NLDS while the Dodgers had five days off after the end of the regular season. The Dodgers have not used that delay as an excuse, but Padres manager Bob Melvin believes his club’s path leading up to the NLDS may have benefited them.

“Typically the Wild Card teams are in that position anyway,” Melvin said. “It’s always been that way where the teams that get in through via Wild Card are not only playing with intensity up to the end, but they’re also playing well to get in.

“And there’s probably something to be said that when you’re playing well and you have a lot of confidence, you get into the postseason, then there isn’t as much expectation on you, then maybe that’s a pretty good way to go about it. Yet you do have to play another round.

“Obviously everybody aspires to win the division, get a little time off. But there might be a little something to that.”

Although L.A. had won 14 of 19 matchups against San Diego during the regular season, the Dodgers were only able to win Game 1 of the NLDS before dropping three consecutive games.

Across MLB, the top two seeds struggled in their DS against a Wild Card opponent. The Philadelphia Phillies upset the Atlanta Braves and now face the Padres in the NL Championship Series. Meanwhile, the New York Yankees are down 2-1 to the Cleveland Guardians, the American League Central division winner that had to play in the Wild Card series.

The Houston Astros were the only team with a bye to advance, depending on what the Yankees do in their series, but they were given a lot of trouble by the Seattle Mariners in a series that could have gone either way.

This is the first season MLB has utilized a three-team Wild Card format so it’s impossible to make a real determination on how the delay affects teams, but the early returns are not encouraging.

Dodgers failed to execute any plan against Padres

After taking an early lead against Mike Clevinger in Game 1, the Dodgers fell into an 0-for-20 skid with runners in scoring position, marking their third-longest stretch during the postseason in franchise history.

“We just didn’t hit, man. That’s on us. That’s on the hitters’ side,” Mookie Betts said. “We did not execute any type of plan. We didn’t do anything that we did throughout the season. Like I said, it sucks, but nothing we can do now.”

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