Dodgers vs. Padres Game 1 takeaways: Pivotal double play key

The Dodgers took an early five-run lead and held their ground for a 5-3 win over the San Diego Padres at Chavez Ravine on Tuesday night, putting a lot of pressure on their division rivals to win Game Two of the Best-Of -five National League Division Series.

“Every game is urgent, every game is of the utmost importance at this moment,” Padres catcher Austin Nola said. “We will bring our A game [Wednesday] and strive for it as best we can.”

Before we move on to Game 2, here are four takeaways from Game 1:

comfort zone

Watching Dodgers second baseman Gavin Lux convert Wil Myers’ 100-mile one-hopper down his left into a game-changing double in the sixth inning was a reminder of how far it took to believe Lux would be converted to an outfielder could last september and october.

A midfielder by trade, Lux never seemed comfortable in midfield or left field. One night, he hit the wall so hard and awkwardly that his teammates drew the outline of his body — like the chalk outline at a crime scene — on the wall at Dodger Stadium.

“I think the outfield last year was a little bit difficult,” Lux said. “Every game was a lot of fear to walk out there, just never really do it and try to get through it and help the team in every way possible to help. But yeah, I think second base is a lot more comfortable.”

That was evident as Lux, with two ons, one out and the Dodgers 5-3, slammed Myers’ shot in the hole, spun 360 degrees and threw Trea Turner to the short stop, who dodged the slipping Manny Machado and fired first to complete an inning-ending double play.

“I thought it was almost behind Gavin,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “Wil has done well staying in this baseball, but Gavin made a good jump, didn’t panic and gave Trea a good feed. For me it was the game of the game.”

The Padres had three runs in the fifth to reduce their deficit to 5-3, but double play in the sixth behind assist Evan Phillips turned the momentum back towards the Dodgers.

“It feels like a five-run lead in the playoffs isn’t enough,” Lux said. “You’re never really comfortable. So the double play and getting out of that jam was big. The momentum had shifted a bit and then we got it back.

“But that’s the playoffs. It’s like a ping-pong table, back and forth, back and forth, and nobody’s going to give up, so a lot of games will be like that.”

All guns, no egos

The direction and pecking order of a Dodgers bullpen going into the playoffs without closing a set seemed to take shape in Game 1. Or is it?

Phillips, the setup man who replaced injured Blake Treinen as high-leverage top arm, was called up to face the heart of the Padres Order – Juan Soto, Machado and pinch-hitter Josh Bell – for the sixth time.

Left-hander Alex Vesia replaced Phillips, and of the six batsmen he faced in the seventh and eighth innings, three hit left-handers and one was a switch hitter.

Hard-throwing right-hander Brusdar Graterol came in with two outs in the eighth round, causing Machado to fly left on the first pitch. Chris Martin, the veteran right-hander acquired by the Chicago Cubs at the close, threw in ninth place for his first playoff save.

“I loved it, but we got to see something very different [Wednesday night], and I don’t want to show my hand too much,” Roberts said. “But it’s just the luxury of the leeway that we have with our guys willing to contribute in every inning and every leverage.”

Many experienced rescuers prefer to have set roles so they can stick to their routines. These Dodgers helpers, most of whom aren’t household names, seem to thrive on spontaneity.

“I really don’t think we invest a lot in the big names or who gets these outs,” Phillips said. “I think we all just value each other as teammates, we value each other as a bullpen unit. So when the phone rings and our name is called, we treat everyone equally and go out and try to get the job done.”

Take the fifth

If that streak goes to a crucial Game 5 on Sunday, the Padres would be reluctant to start right-hander Mike Clevinger, who rocked for five carries — four earned — and six hits in 2 2/3 innings and hitting three on Tuesday night and walk two.

A shocker, it wasn’t. Clevinger, the team’s No. 4 starter, went 0-2 in three previous starts against the Dodgers this season with a 9.69 ERA and gave up 14 earned runs and 16 hits, including five homers, in 13 innings.

The Dodgers clearly have his number, scoring on Turner’s solo homer and Max Muncy’s RBI singles in the first inning of Game 1 and three times in the third on doubles by Turner, Will Smith and Lux ​​and an error. Smith and Lux’s doubles rode in runs.

San Diego’s top three starters – Yu Darvish, Blake Snell and Joe Musgrove – lined up for Games 2, 3 and 4. Sean Manaea would be an option for Game 5, but not a good one.

The left-hander went 8-9 with a 4.96 ERA and gave up 29 home runs in 30 games this season. He had an 11.72 ERA in five games against the Dodgers and gave up 23 earned carries and 28 hits, including five home runs.

A better option for game 5 would be a bullpen game, because as the Padres reliefs showed in game 1, they can…

Lights out

Freddie Freeman pulled a one-out walk on Padres reliever Steven Wilson in the fourth inning. The Dodgers were without a baserunner for the remainder of the game, with Wilson, Pierce Johnson, left-hander Tim Hill and Nick Martinez combining for 5 1/3 hitless innings with seven strikeouts to Clevinger’s relief.

“We found a way to stay within ourselves and have good shots against Clevinger — he wasn’t making a few pitches here and there, and that kind of cost them,” Muncy said. “But their bullpen came in and executed their game plans perfectly. There weren’t many pitches over the plate that we were able to hit.”

The dominant relief efforts didn’t even include the Padres’ two best helpers, setup man Robert Suarez and closer Josh Hader.

“They were attacking, they were throwing the breaking ball for strikes, fastballs in good places, and they were ahead of the count,” Nola said. “That’s big. We were able to do some chases and make good pitches in the zone.”

https://www.latimes.com/sports/dodgers/story/2022-10-12/dodgers-vs-padres-game-1-takeaways Dodgers vs. Padres Game 1 takeaways: Pivotal double play key

Emma Bowman

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