While projections strongly favor the Los Angeles Dodgers to win a seventh consecutive National League West title in 2019, the San Diego Padres are attempting to change that narrative.
Looking to advance to the postseason for the first time since 2006, the Padres made a huge free agent splash over the offseason in the form of Manny Machado, who signed a 10-year-contract after spending the second half of the 2018 season with the Dodgers.
Along with adding Machado to the fold, the Padres are already reaping the benefits of a strong farm system. Top contributors this season include rookies Fernando Tatis Jr. and Chris Paddack, who were both included on San Diego’s Opening Day roster.
With one of the most promising young cores in all of baseball, many believe the Padres are ready to take the next step and emerge as a legitimate contender in the NL West.
Machado is additionally optimistic of his club’s chances this season and revealed that San Diego has their eyes set on dethroning the Dodgers, via Andy McCullough of the L.A. Times:
“We have a pretty strong mentality in here,” Machado said. “We want to win, and we know we’re good. We know they’re a great ball club. And we’re going to go out there and try to do everything possible to take them down from the top.”
Friday marked the first meeting of the regular season between the Dodgers and Padres. Machado, facing his former team for the first time since signing with San Diego, went 1-for-4 with a two-run home run against Clayton Kershaw in the first inning.
Despite jumping out to an early 3-0 lead, it was the Dodgers who got the last laugh. They rallied and produced four runs from the sixth inning on to defeat the Padres.
With the loss, the Padres fell to 18-15 on the season and now trail the first-place Dodgers by 2.5 games in the NL West.