Sports · August 6, 2022

The Dodgers transform Juan Soto’s defeat into a victory over Padres

Dave Roberts insisted it wasn’t going to be a litmus test.

After the blow his team inflicted on Friday, perhaps he should have.

On an evening that began with a thrilling on-pitch ceremony commemorating the late Vin Scully, and which was supposed to showcase a supposedly revamped San Diego Padres roster after Tuesday’s commercial deadline, the Dodgers instead scored an 8-1 win. extending their recent dominance over rivalry by collecting their sixth consecutive victory.

“Obviously, the waiting outside of the players with the ball is there,” Roberts said. “But the message was consistent from us, focusing only on ourselves and playing good baseball.”

That, the Dodgers did in the opening of the series.

They scored for four points at the bottom of the first, twice benefiting from a mistake by Brandon Drury on third base to take the lead.

They doubled their lead with four more points in the second, burying Padres star Sean Manaea with two braces from Chris Taylor and Cody Bellinger.

From there they salted the series opener, receiving five goalless innings from starting pitcher Tony Gonsolin and little late stamina from their visitors, who entered the top series due to their flurry of deadline moves.

“They’ve definitely improved,” said shortstop Trea Turner. “But we took care of business tonight.”

For Juan Soto, Josh Bell, Josh Hader and Drury – the Padres four high-profile additions – it was the first time they lost to the Dodgers in brown and yellow uniforms.

San Diego Padres winger Juan Soto sits on the bench during an 8-1 defeat to the Dodgers on Friday night.

San Diego Padres winger Juan Soto sits on the bench during an 8-1 defeat to the Dodgers on Friday night.

(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

For the Padres teammates, however, Friday was nothing new.

The Dodgers are 6-2 against the Padres this year and have won 15 of their last 17 fights dating back to last year.

They extended their lead in NL West to 131/2 games, a seemingly insurmountable lead with two months remaining in the regular season.

And, intentionally or unintentionally, the Dodgers (73-33) delivered what sounded like an emphatic rebuke to the Padres’ run-to-the-deadline, which was highlighted by the fact that they overtook the Dodgers in a successful move for Soto.

“It is what it is,” Roberts said when asked about the Soto trade. “He is a great player. It certainly makes our job a little harder, a lot harder. But there is nothing we can do. We won’t be able to escape. “

The crowd at Dodger Stadium certainly doesn’t.

Just a week after Soto’s serenade with “Future Dodger!” singing when he visited as a member of the Nationals, the 23-year-old winger was greeted by a chorus of boos during his first trip to the plate on Friday.

It was one of the few times that a sold-out crowd of 52,714 people did anything other than cheering.

After taking part in the pre-game ceremony – in which Roberts led the stadium reciting Scully’s famous line, “It’s Dodger baseball time” – they came to life when Drury threw away a grounder laden with bases in the first, allowing at the first two of the game he runs to score.

They were back on their feet moments later when Hanser Alberto hit a two hopper over Drury and down the line for a double two run, then again in the third when Taylor, who was playing his first game in a month. due to a broken foot and Bellinger faced double two runs.

Gonsolin, meanwhile, has settled down after the first two laborious innings, completing his fifth start of at least five shutout innings this season.

And the game was so far out of reach of the seventh, Soto was substituted for a couple of innings of rest.

Aside from Friday’s result, the Padres (61-48) still look like a much bigger threat than they did on their previous visit a month ago when they were nearly overwhelmed in a four-match streak in which their attack he only scored eight points in total.

“Surely you have to give Padres ownership a lot of credit, Peter Seidler,” said Roberts, a former Padres player and manager who said he has never seen the franchise with so much enthusiasm. “When people talk about the Dodgers and Padres, about the National League West, about big trading, about spending money on big players, I think we all win.”

The Dodgers don’t seem foolproof either, with their throwing staff taking another hit on Friday when starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw was placed on the injured list due to lower back pain, a problem the Dodgers hope will keep the southpaw from leaves for no more than about a month.

“He’s certainly frustrated, 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.”

For now, however, any thoughts on the Padres challenging the Dodgers’ NL supremacy will have to wait.

Their formation could be more impressive. Their list is undoubtedly deeper.

But on Friday, the recent torment of the Padres by the Dodgers continued. Not even a new Padres roster could prevent more or less the same.