The Los Angeles Dodgers will begin their offseason Sunday, far earlier than expected.
After winning a franchise-record 111 games in the regular season, the Dodgers were eliminated from the postseason Saturday night with a 5-3 loss to the San Diego Padres at Petco Park to lose a National League Division Series three games to one in one of the greatest postseason upsets in baseball history.
The Padres won 89 games in the regular season, 22 fewer than the Dodgers. The only greater difference in victories for a postseason series winner was the 1906 Chicago White Sox, who defeated the Chicago Cubs in the World Series after winning 23 fewer games in the regular season.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts called the loss “crushing.” He said the “shock factor” was “very high” as was the disappointment.
“You’ve got to give the Padres credit,” Roberts said after a Dodgers season was ended by a team with fewer regular-season victories for the fourth time in his seven seasons as manager. “They outplayed us this series.”
The Dodgers won the opener in the best-of-five series when ace Julio UrÃas took the mound and four relievers limited San Diego to three hits over the final four innings in a 5-3 victory Tuesday at Dodger Stadium, then lost each of the next three games, never scoring more than three runs in a game.
The Dodgers had a 93.5% chance of winning Saturday when their lead grew to 3-0 in the top of the seventh inning on Will Smith’s sacrifice fly that drove in Mookie Betts, according to ESPN Analytics.
However, their lead was gone five batters into the bottom of the seventh after San Diego combined a walk to Jackson Profar, a single by Trent Grisham, an infield single by its No. 9 hitter Austin Nola, a double by Ha-Seong Kim and Juan Soto’s single for three runs.
Manny Machado struck out for the first out and Brandon Drury fouled out to Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman for the second out.
Yency Almonte, the second Dodgers pitcher of the inning, was supposed to throw to first to give Alex Vesia more time to warm up, Roberts said. Instead, he threw a four-seam fastball to Jake Croneworth for a ball.
“I don’t know how it got lost in translation,” Roberts said.
Vesia entered the game with the count 1-0. On the 1-2 pitch, Soto was credited with a stolen base when Smith, the Dodgers catcher, did not throw to second base. Croneworth hit the next pitch for single, driving in Kim and Soto and giving the Padres a 5-3 lead.
Robert Suarez, the fifth San Diego pitcher, retired the Dodgers in order in the eighth. Josh Hader struck out all three batters he faced in the ninth, ending the game by striking out Freeman on three pitches for his third postseason save in three postseason save opportunities in 2022.
The Dodgers were out-hit, 9-7, left nine runners on base and were 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position. The Padres left eight runners on base and were 4-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
Almonte was charged with the loss, allowing two runs and two hits in two-thirds of an inning.
Tim Hill, the third San Diego pitcher, was credited with the victory, retiring both batters he faced in the seventh.
Dodgers starter Tyler Anderson pitched five shutout innings, allowing two hits. He struck out six and walked two.
Roberts said “there was some thought” about allowing Anderson to pitch the sixth inning, “but I thought where he was at with his pitch count, who was coming up, I just felt that we had enough arms to get through that.”
“With a 2-0 lead, Soto, Machado coming up again, I just felt that he’s going to be in the 90s at that point in time, I felt that we had enough coverage,” Roberts said.
Anderson threw 86 pitches.
Padres starter Joe Musgrove allowed two runs and six hits over six innings, striking out eight and walking three.
The Dodgers opened the scoring in the third when Freeman doubled in Betts, who walked, and Trea Turner, who doubled.
The Dodgers added a run in the seventh. Steven Wilson issued a full-count walk to Betts, the first batter he faced. Betts moved to second on a wild pitch and third on Trea Turner’s bunt single. Freeman was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Smith followed with a sacrifice fly.
On Hill’s first pitch, Turner and Freeman executed a double steal, giving the Dodgers runners on second and third with one out, but Max Muncy struck out and Justin Turner grounded out to end the inning.
The victory advances the Padres to the National League Championship Series for the first time since 1998. They’ll face the Philadelphia Phillies beginning Tuesday at Petco Park.
The Dodgers were the second team to be eliminated from the postseason after receiving a first-round bye under the expanded playoff format instituted this season. The NL East champion Atlanta Braves lost their NLDS to the Phillies in another upset.
The New York Yankees, who also received a bye, trail their American League Division Series against the Cleveland Guardians, two games to one, entering Sunday’s play. The fourth team to receive a bye, the Houston Astros, swept their ALDS against the Seattle Mariners in three games.
The Dodgers concluded the regular season Oct. 5, but did not begin postseason play until Oct. 11.
Roberts said the layoff is “not something that we want to look at as an excuse.”
“That’s kind of the format the way it is, and you do the best you can in the regular season to put yourself in a position to get home-field advantage, to get the bye in the wild-card round, and it’s up to us to kind of prepare ourselves the best way we can to get through a division series, and we didn’t,” Roberts said.