In was is sure to become a fierce battle in the NL West over the next several years, the San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers started an intense series on Monday.
If you’re a San Diego Padres fan you couldn’t help but feel the extra build-up for the game on Monday night against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
You had your ace on the mound in Chris Paddack going up against the new ace of the Dodgers in Walker Buehler. It was as close to a playoff atmosphere as you’re going to get in this regular season with no fans.
Ryan broke down the win for the Padres here.
But what we really stood out to me was the fierce passion Fernando Tatis Jr. showed in this game.
And while he always brings that to the ballpark, you could tell there was a different level of intensity in his game on Monday night. He knew this was a huge game, and he knows if the Padres are ever going to take a step forward they have to prove to themselves they can not only hang with the Dodgers but beat them at their best.
After the Padres blew a 2-1 lead in the fifth, it was Tatis who tied it right back up with an opposite-field home run off Buehler.
And this is where I really started to see the intensity pick up. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but look at Tatis’ face when he’s rounding the bases.
Normally a guy that smiles a lot and jokes around, that’s the face of someone out for blood.
You could see it in the field too with every play he made, there was a seriousness to him that I’m not used to seeing.
This game was different, it felt different.
And then there was the collision at home plate in the seventh. Tatis got caught in a rundown and ran right through Dodgers’ catcher Will Smith in way that we don’t see in today’s game anymore.
Now, there was nothing dirty or even intentional about it. Tatis turned around and Smith was right in his path to home plate, which makes Smith fair game. But also, I just don’t think Tatis had much time to do anything else.
The Dodgers took exception to it and started chirping and Tatis chirped back, showing they’re not just going to back down or move to the side because they’re the Dodgers.
And the Kirby Yates finished it off and showed the type of emotion the Padres were playing with all night in what is a huge series for them if they want to win the NL West in 2020.
This was a fun game to watch and I looked forward to the next nine installments of this growing rivalry over the rest of the season.