Slam Diego advances to the NLCS

Padres beat rival dodgers, 3-1 in series, face Phillies in best of seven



Trent Grisham, with his solo homer is responsible for the Padres’ 2-1 win over the Dodgers.

ERICK AGUILAR, Evergreen reporter

SAN DIEGOOOOO! Boy oh Boy doesn’t this feel good!?

The San Diego Padres, wait, scratch that, MY San Diego Padres, are advancing to the NLCS to take on the Philadelphia Phillies which started Tuesday. The winner, of course, will advance to the World Series for their shot at the title and the coveted Commissioner’s Trophy.

This is the first time the Padres have made it back to the NLCS since the 1998 season, and the moment couldn’t be sweeter as the team beat their longtime rival from up the coast, the Los Angeles Dodgers.

As a Padres fan, there is no other team I would rather beat. I mean, if I were to tell you how much Padres fans spite Dodgers fans, I would get in trouble with my editor for using profane language.

For the team to buckle down in the playoffs and beat the Dodgers in the games where it mattered most, is an absolutely amazing feeling.

The top-ranked Dodgers were heavily favored to trump their little brother, the fifth-ranked Padres, and with good reason. The Dodgers have been far better all season long and whenever the two teams meet the Dodgers took the majority of the wins.

“This is worse than Clayton Kershaw’s meltdowns against the St. Louis Cardinals. This is worse than Corey Seager failing to cover third base against the New York Mets. This is worse than being overrun by the Chicago Cubs, This is worse than Howie Kendrick’s grand slam for the Washington Nationals. This is worse than the front office’s pitching management against the Atlanta Braves. This is even worse than being cheated by the Houston Astros in 2017 and being whipped by the Boston Red Sox in 2018 because, well, at least both of those defeats were in the World Series. In each of those years, at least they won two playoff rounds,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

I really must say, nothing tastes better than the tears of Dodger fans.

Looking at the roster, I can confidently say this Padres team is the best we’ve had in a long while. Pitchers like Mike Clevinger, Yu Darvish, Josh Hader, Sean Manaea, Blake Snell, and the hometown kid Joe Musgrove.

The Slam Diego hitting lineup is lights out, no-nonsense, goodnight, filled with the studs: Juan Soto, Manny Machado, Jake Cronenworth, Josh Bell, Trent Grisham, Jurickson Profar, Wil Myers, Brandon Drury, Austin Nola and a few others.

So I knew we had the talent, we just had to execute.

After the first game of the series, losing 5-3, I thought the sight was all too familiar. I figured the Padres would win one, maybe two games, but would ultimately be sent home.

The team stole a game in LA tying the series at 1-1, a great sign. Winning 5-3. Sure it was LA, but I thought we had just gotten lucky.

Game three was back home at Petco Park, and spectators saw a stellar performance from the Padres bullpen, a facet of the team that has been lackluster the last few years. Trent Grisham sealed the game with a home run in the third inning giving the Padres a one-run lead, which the Dodgers were never able to catch.

After the third game, I leaned back and said, holy crap, I think we can actually beat these guys. But we wouldn’t get lucky in LA again, we had to take advantage of our time at home.

And the final nail in the coffin was the emotional rollercoaster that was Sunday night’s matchup, game four. Oh man, what a game! This one is sure to go down as a classic, especially for us “Friar Faithful.”

The Dodgers saw the game’s only points with three scores walking into the top of the seventh.

This was it, I thought. It was a solid run. I was sure the Dodgers would win this game, and win the next back in LA. Fate, however, had other plans.

Profar at third, CRACK, a hit from Nola, bouncing off the grass and going off the glove of the diving Freddie Freeman. Profar was able to reach home plate, there was life, we could do this. The score was 3-1.

No outs yet, Grisham at second, Nola at first. Kim was up to bat. He hits a line drive right down the left side, Grisham scores! That makes 3-2, one more to go. Nola reaches third and sliding safe into second is Kim. The Korean ball player hits an RBI double to get his teammate home.

Soto was up to bat with Nola on third. There’s the pitch, the swing. BANG the ball sores into the outfield finding a pocket of unpatrolled green.

Tied game: 3-3. This was it, now or never, two teams, toe-to-toe right in the center of the ring. The Dodgers clutching to fight another day, the Padres looking to seal their ticket into the next round.

This is playoff baseball, the matchup was set, this is what athletes live for. Whoever would win this game would have to go and take it, no easy wins here.

Cronenworth at-bat, he’s got Kim on third and Soto on second. There are two outs and two strikes. That’s a hit! The ball once again just short of the reach of the outfield. Kim and Soto round the bases and fly into home plate. This was it, the Padres’ first lead of the night and it could not have come at a sweeter time.

We did it, we really did it. Just like that, it was over, the San Diego Padres gave it to the Los Angeles Dodgers in classic baseball playoffs fashion.

I’ve always liked a good upset, and for the upset to come from my home team, in the playoffs, are you kidding? There’s nothing more I could ask for.

San Diego is absolutely ELECTRIC, I’m being sent tons of videos from friends at the game, at the bars, or even in their own homes completely thrilled with our defeat of the Dodgers. We’re so excited to finally be in a position to make a deep and respectable playoff run. We want people to realize that this is a good team to keep an eye on.

The Padres have the full support of the city as we excitedly move on to face the Phillies.