The truncated MLB season is starting to reach the final stretch.  Things have gotten interesting as the season has progressed, and the National League Division Series (NLDS) finds two California teams fighting for the win in the best-of-five series.  The San Diego Padres and the Los Angeles Dodgers face off starting today, and this promises to be an exciting series.

Padres Look For Huge Upset

The Padres haven’t won a West Division title since 2006, the same year they took control of the National League.  They’ve never won a World Series, and hope that this year will bring that streak to an end.  They sit six games behind the Dodger in the West and are looking for Fernando Tatis, Jr and Manny Machado to work their magic on the field and at the plate.

“Slam Diego,” as the team has become known due to some power hitting this year, got to where it is after winning a wild-card series against the St. Louis Cardinals.  Tatis, Jr., Machado and Wil Myers proved to be invaluable for the team, combining for 48 homers during the regular season.  During the series against the Cardinals, they put up five, including a three-run home run by Tatis, Jr. in Game 2, but will need to improve against a stronger Dodgers squad.

The Padres are going to have to dig deep to find the energy they need.  Pitchers Chris Paddack and Zach Davies had some difficulty on the mound in the wild-card series and can’t afford to allow any Dodgers player to get an upper hand.  To do so would mean a definite loss and another missed shot at a pennant for San Diego.

The good news is that Mike Clevinger is pn the 28-man roster and is expected to start Game 1.  The righty, who was picked up by the Padres just before the trade deadline, has gone 3-2 in eight starts this season, picking up a 3.02 ERA along the way.  Adding to that are 40 strikeouts across just under 42 innings.  An elbow strain has kept him off the field since September 23, but he’s coming back to the game, and just in time.

Dodgers Are On A Roll

The Dodgers have two World Series appearances in three years, but have not been able to take the title.  They have looked sharp this year, grabbing an MLB-best 43-17 on the season, and have shown considerable strength over the Padres.  When the two teams met during the regular season, the Dodgers took control and took six of the ten games.

One issue the Dodgers face is with their closer.  Kenley Jansen has been great in his job; however, he has also stumbled a couple of times later in the season.  This could mean he’s running out of steam, and this might be the advantage the Padres need.  Despite a deep bullpen, the Dodgers have shown some difficulty on the follow-through later in the game, which might spell disaster.

The Dodgers have 118 home runs this year, taking the top spot in MLB.  They also scored 122 runs in the regular season from the seventh inning and beyond.  However, in an example of how they seem to run out of steam later in the games, this was the second-best for the league.  First place is held by the Padres, with 124.

The games are going to be played at Globe Life Field in Arlington, TX, and there is no doubt that both teams are going to be locked in a fierce battle from the first pitch.  However, sportsbooks like Unibet are giving the Dodgers the advantage, putting them at -165 for Game 1.  The Over/Under on runs sits at 8.5, with the final expected to not quite make it there.  Still, there’s no reason to think the Padres, at +143, can’t pull off the upset.  It wouldn’t be the first time they did so this season.