Friday will mark the sixth game or competition that Juan Soto has played at Dodger Stadium in the past nineteen days, but as you may have heard, Soto will not be making his home debut for the Dodgers in this one. . Instead, he headlines a revamped Padres roster ahead of a three-weekend streak between the top two teams in National League West.
San Diego is the Dodgers’ closest competitor in the division, but the race isn’t that close, with the Dodgers holding a 12½-game advantage heading into the weekend. But for those two playoff locks, the next two months is about setting things up for the playoffs than anything else.
By the time October rolls around, the Dodgers will know the Padres intimately, who they’ve only faced twice this season. Both of these teams still have four more series on the 2022 docket, and that’s before considering a potential playoff battle like in 2020.
Before Friday’s game, a tribute to Vin Scully begins at 6:30 p.m.which will be televised by SportsNet LA
In other words, the Dodgers still have 57 games on the schedule, and twelve of them (21%) are against the Padres.
In addition to this weekend, the two clubs will meet three times in the past month – September 2-4 in Los Angeles, then September 9-11 and September 27-29 at Petco Park.
Before the trade deadline, the Padres’ biggest need was offense. They head into Friday with a 101 wRC+ as a team, roughly league average. We knew they would improve once Fernando Tatis Jr. returned. It hasn’t happened yet, but what they did this week was not only add Soto (.249/.410/.491 this year, a 153 wRC+), but also the player of first baseman Josh Bell (143 wRC+) and infielder Brandon Drury (133 wRC+) as well.
It’s a much deeper range.
Maybe the Dodgers will add some depth as well, depending on when or if Chris Taylor is activated, which could be as soon as this weekend.
Two playoff locks, potentially on a collision course for the NLDS, still have four more regular-season series against each other in the streak. It’s the right thing.