It may not get the same attention that Boston-New York does, but the California rivalry between the Padres and Dodgers may be nearing the level of Red Sox-Yankees.
Los Angeles and San Diego are only separated by about two hours, as opposed to nearly four between the AL East rivals. The Dodgers and Padres are will be battling all year to win the NL West this season after San Diego’s offseason upgrades.
Don Orsillo saw the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry firsthand as Boston’s announcer for 15 years and is now immersed in the Padres-Dodgers duel as San Diego’s play-by-play man.
Orsillo joined WEEI’s Rob Bradford on the Audacy Original Podcast “Baseball Isn’t Boring” and explained why he thinks Dodgers-Padres has turned into Red Sox-Yankees.
“(Padres-Dodgers) has turned into, for me in my background, Red Sox-Yankees because the games are all four hours and they’re intense,” Orsillo said (2:16 in player above). “The problem last year in the regular season was it was very one-sided. The Dodgers won 15 of the 19 … but as we know those games don’t mean anything, it’s the postseason, and the Padres were able to win the NLDS.”
Despite their long history, the Padres and Dodgers have only met twice in the playoffs – both in the 2020s. The Dodgers swept the Padres in the 2020 NLDS while San Diego ousted Los Angeles in four games in last year’s NLDS.
It’s not a perfect comparison, but in a sense, the Dodgers would be the Yankees – a money-spending dynasty that has at least won a championship – while the Padres are still searching for their first World Series since beginning play in 1969.
That may turn around soon, though, especially with how the Padres are spending money.
They signed former Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts to a long-term contract this offseason and just extended Manny Machado after he said he planned on opting out after this season. Not to mention Fernando Tatis Jr., Juan Soto, and a six-year contract to the 36-year-old Yu Darvish.
On the other hand, the Dodgers were less active this offseason with Trea Turner, Justin Turner, and Cody Bellinger all departing. They may have something up their sleeve come the trade deadline or next offseason, though.
“I sort of feel like the Padres heading into this year hope to turn things around as far as the regular season goes.”