Dave Roberts insisted that it would not be a litmus test.
After beating his team on Friday, maybe he should have done it.
On a night that began with an emotional ceremony on the field in memory of the late Vin Scullyand that was meant to showcase the San Diego Padres’ supposedly revamped roster after Tuesday’s trade deadline, the Dodgers instead went to 8-1 winincreasing their recent superiority over rivals and scoring a sixth victory in a row.
“Obviously, it’s not just the players who have the expectation,” Roberts said. “But the messaging has been consistent on our part, just focusing on ourselves and playing good baseball.”
This is what the Dodgers did at the beginning of the series.
They hit four at the bottom of first base, taking advantage of Brandon Drury’s mistake at third base twice to take the lead.
They doubled their lead with four more tries in the second, burying Padres starter Shawn Manea in two tries from Chris Taylor and Cody Bellinger.
From there, they played the first series, receiving five scoreless innings from starting pitcher Tony Gonsolin and little resistance from their visitors, who entered the series on the rise due to their flurry of edge pitches.
“They’ve definitely gotten better,” shortstop Three Turner said. “But we took care of business tonight.
Per Juan Soto, Josh Bell, Josh Hader and Drury – Padres four high-profile additions – they lost to the Dodgers for the first time in brown and yellow uniforms.
However, for their Padres teammates, Friday was nothing new.
The Dodgers are 6-2 against the Padres this year and have won 15 of the last 17 games played last year.
They extended their lead in the NL West to 131/2 games, which seemed like an insurmountable lead with two months left in the regular season.
And, intentionally or not, the Dodgers (73-33) did what looked like a strong rebuke to the Padres for the deadline scrum, highlighted by their outbidding the Dodgers in a blockbuster for Soto.
“That’s what it is,” Roberts said when asked about the Soto deal. “He is a great player. It certainly makes our job a little harder, a lot harder. But we can’t do anything. We’re not going to run away from it.”
The crowd at Dodger Stadium didn’t know for sure.
Just a week after Soto serenaded “Future Dodger!” chants when he visited as a member of the Nationals, the 23-year-old outfielder was greeted with a chorus of hoots during his first trip to the plate on Friday.
It was one of the few occasions when the crowd of 52,714 did anything other than cheer.
After participating in a pre-game ceremony in which Roberts led the stadium, delivering Scully’s famous “It’s time for a Dodger baseball” line, they roared when Drury threw out the bases-laden Grounder in the first game, allowing the first two games of runs to score.
Moments later they were back on their feet when Hanser Alberto landed a double shot past Drury and further down the line for a double double and then again in the third when Taylor, who was playing his first game in a month due to a broken foot, and Bellinger scored a double with two runs.
Gonsolin, meanwhile, settled down after a laborious first two innings, completing his fifth start of at least five shutout innings this season.
And the game was so far out of touch by the seventh that Soto was substituted for a couple of innings of rest.
Friday’s result aside, the Padres (61-48) still seem to be a much bigger threat than during their previous visit a month ago, when they narrowly lost a four-game streak in which their offense scored just eight points. .
“Peter Seidler certainly has to give credit to the owner of the Padres,” said Roberts, a former Padres player and coach who said he’s never seen a franchise with such hype. “When people talk about the Dodgers and the Padres, the Western National League, big deals, spending money on great players, I think we all win.”
The Dodgers don’t seem infallible either: Their pitching staff took another hit on Friday when starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw was put on the injured list with lower back pain – an issue the Dodgers hope will no longer keep the southpaw in side. than about a month.
“He’s upset, of course, but there’s nothing we can do about it,” Roberts said. “I think his only goal is to do everything possible to get him back as soon as possible and healthy.”
However, for now, any thoughts of the Padres challenging the Dodgers’ NL dominance will have to wait.
Their composition may be more impressive. Their list is undoubtedly deeper.
But on Friday, the Dodgers’ recent torment over the Padres persisted. Even the revamped Padres roster couldn’t prevent the same thing from happening again.