Dave Roberts insisted it wouldn’t be a litmus test.
After the beating his team inflicted on Friday, maybe he should have.
On a night that kicked off with an emotional on-field ceremony commemorating the late Vin Scully, and that would showcase a supposedly revamped San Diego Padres roster after Tuesday’s trade TBEN, the Dodgers instead drove to an 8-1 win. , marking their recent dominance over the rivalry as they take their sixth straight win.
“Obviously the anticipation outside of the ball players is there,” said Roberts. “But the coverage from our side has been consistent. We’re just focusing on ourselves and playing good baseball.”
That’s what the Dodgers did in the series opener.
They struck four times in the bottom of the first inning and took advantage of a misplay by Brandon Drury on third base twice to move forward.
They doubled their lead with four more runs in the second, with Padres starter Sean Manaea being buried on two-run doubles by Chris Taylor and Cody Bellinger.
From then on, they threw out the series opener and received five scoreless innings from starting pitcher Tony Gonsolin and little late resistance from their visitors, who held the series in high esteem for their flurry of TBEN moves.
“They have definitely gotten better,” said shortstop Trea Turner. “But we’ve got things settled tonight.”
For Juan Soto, Josh Bell, Josh Hader and Drury – the four high-profile Padres signings – it was the first time they lost to the Dodgers in a brown and yellow uniform.
For their Padres teammates, however, Friday was nothing new.
The Dodgers are 6-2 against the Padres this year and have won 15 of the last 17 meetings dating to last year.
They extended their lead over NL West to 131/2 games, a seemingly insurmountable advantage with two months left in the regular season.
And, intentionally or not, the Dodgers (73-33) delivered what felt like an emphatic rebuke to the Padres TBEN feud — which was emphasized by the fact that they outbid the Dodgers in a blockbuster for Soto.
“It is what it is,” Roberts said when asked about the Soto trade. “He’s a great player. It definitely makes our job a little bit harder, a lot harder. But there’s nothing we can do. We’re not going to run away from it.”
The Dodger Stadium crowd certainly isn’t.
Barely a week after Soto serenaded “Future Dodger!” When he came to visit as a member of the Nationals, the 23-year-old outfielder was greeted by a chorus of boos during his first trip to the record Friday.
It was one of the few times when a sold-out crowd of 52,714 people did anything but cheer.
After participating in the pregame ceremony — in which Roberts led the stadium in chanting Scully’s famous phrase, “It’s time for Dodger baseball” — they came roaring to life when Drury threw a basesloaded grounder in the first, leaving the first two runs to score.
Moments later, they were back on their feet when Hanser Alberto hit a two-hopper past Drury and hit down the line for a double-run double, and again in the third when Taylor, who played his first game in a month due to a foot fracture, and Bellinger hit on two-run doubles.
Gonsolin, meanwhile, came to rest after a difficult first two innings and completed his fifth start of at least five shutout-innings this season.
And the game was so far out of reach in the seventh that Soto was relieved for a few innings of rest.
Aside from Friday’s result, the Padres (61-48) still appear to be a much bigger threat than they did on their previous visit a month ago, when they were nearly defeated in a four-game series in which their attack scored just eight points in all. .
“You definitely have to give Padres ownership, Peter Seidler, a lot of credit,” said Roberts, a former Padres player and coach who said he had never seen the franchise with so much buzz. “When people talk about the Dodgers and the Padres, the National League West, big trades, spending money on great players, I think we all win.”
The Dodgers don’t seem infallible either, with their pitching staff taking another blow on Friday when starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw was placed on the injured list due to low back pain – an issue the Dodgers hope won’t keep the left-hander sidelined for more than about a month. .
“He’s definitely frustrated, but there’s nothing we can do about it,” Roberts said. “I think his sole focus is to do what we can to get him back as soon as possible and healthy.”
For now, though, any thoughts on the Padres challenging the Dodgers NL supremacy will have to wait.
Their lineup may be more impressive. Their selection is undoubtedly deeper.
But on Friday, the recent torment of the Padres at the hands of the Dodgers continued. Even a new Padres selection couldn’t be more of the same.
This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.