The Padres have until Tuesday morning to set their roster for the National League Division Series against the Dodgers. They’re going to use every last second of that time.
“I expect us to take it to the wire, certainly with Clevinger and Lamet,” says Padres manager Jayce Tingler.
The Friars need to see if their pair of aces, Mike Clevinger and Dinelson Lamet, are healthy enough to pitch. Clevinger has an elbow sprain and Lamet’s been feeling biceps tightness. Both reported the issues in the final week of the regular season. Neither of them has been able to fully shake the symptoms.
“We’re trying to keep everything in play. We’re not ruling anything out and we’ll see if we can stack some good days,” says Tingler. “I wish I had some information, I just don’t right now. Each one is day-to-day. It feels like we take a half step forward, another half step forward, then we’ve been having a half step back so we’ve gotta stack some good days and we’ll see where we’re at.”
The Padres had what amounts to three bullpen days in their Wild Card series win over the Cardinals. Multiple relievers worked three straight days, something that doesn’t happen often in today’s game. They didn’t do it on purpose. Chris Paddack and Zach Davies combined for 4.1 innings in their two starts, necessitating the liberal use of relievers.
It was what they needed to do to win.
“Our guys just go out and do what’s necessary. It wasn’t by design,” says Tingler. “How many times to you have games where everybody goes out and does their job? We can design anything we want but that ain’t happening.”
If they don’t have Clevinger or Lamet against the Dodgers, they might have to do it again, and if that’s the case then so be it.
“Whatever the challenge is, our guys are going to be up for it,” says Tingler. “If we need to go five bullpen days, we’ll go five bullpen days. If we go starters and they go seven, eight, nine innings that’s how we’re gonna roll. That’s the part I feel confident in.”
On the other side, the Dodgers are rested and healthy. They blew through the Brewers in the Wild Card round and have Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw set to start Games 1 and 2.
In the regular season these teams played 10 times, with the Dodgers winning the series 6-4. It was the closest the Friars have been to really competing with LA in years, so that’s got to mean something, right?
“Honestly it means absolutely nothing,” says Tingler.
The playoffs are simply different. In a best-of-five situation like the Division Series teams that aren’t supposed to win have a puncher’s chance. We’ve seen the better team “on paper” lose a short series plenty of times, including last year when the Nationals beat the Dodgers then rolled to a World Series title.
The Padres feel like they can do something similar, with or without their best two starters.
“We’ve got a loose, fun, energetic group,” says Tingler. “Do we know how this outcome is going to go? No. But the one thing we know is we’re going to lay everything we have out there and we’ll see where that goes but we’re gonna be loose, we’re gonna be energetic, and we’re a confident group.”
Game one of the NLDS is set for Tuesday night at 6:38 Pacific time at Globe Life Park.
LISTEN: With NBC 7 San Diego's Darnay Tripp and Derek Togerson behind the mic, On Friar will cover all things San Diego Padres. Interviews, analysis, behind the scenes...the ups, downs, and everything in between. Tap here to find On Friar wherever you listen to podcasts.