Mookie Betts: Dodgers Have To Be ‘Who We Are’ Against Padres In NLDS

The Los Angeles Dodgers took six of 10 games from the San Diego Padres during the regular season, which included a three-game series at Petco Park in the middle of September that effectively decided the National League West.

However, it began with the Dodgers coming undone in the seventh inning and squandering a gem from Clayton Kershaw. The loss in the series opener pulled the Padres to within 1.5 games of first place in the NL West.

The Dodgers responded with consecutive victories to take the series. It grew to a five-game winning streak and an 8-2 stretch. Mookie Betts later referred to the series opener as a needed “punch in the mouth for the Dodgers.”

Much of the talk from that loss was the Dodgers appearing to not have the same intensity or energy as the Padres, though Justin Turner refuted that notion. Now that the Dodgers and Padres are set to begin the NLDS, Betts emphasized L.A. sticking to themselves.

“I think we just have to be our steady selves, who we are,” Betts said on the eve of Game 1. “They have a lot of energy, a lot of young guys over there, so that’s tough to match. We don’t need to play their game, we need to play ours.”

While the loss at Petco Park was a frustrating night for the Dodgers at the time, Betts considers it a positive moment. “It’s definitely a good thing and I’m glad it happened at the time so now we know what to expect going forward,” he said.

Betts impressed by Tatis, Padres

The Padres’ emergence in the NL West came roughly one year ahead of schedule and in large part due to Fernando Tatis Jr. emerging as an NL MVP candidate.

“Obviously he’s a star. He does everything on the baseball field you can ask for,” Betts said. “He’s got all the tools, the smarts, he’s got everything so he’s definitely a lot of fun to watch. But there’s also a lot of maturity there as well so you just got to tip your cap to somebody who is that good that handles everything so well.”

Betts also has respect for the Padres as a whole, which has been aided by becoming more familiar with them. “I didn’t necessarily think about the teams that I’d be playing against, everyone is in the big leagues and everybody is good,” he said of joining the Dodgers via trade with the Boston Red Six.

“So you know the Padres are young and they signed a couple guys and they’re going to be good here soon. And then once I got here you didn’t realize how good they were. They have a lot of really, really good arms, some good prospects coming up. It’s going to be a lot of fun going forward.”

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