Dodgers, Padres Benches Clear After Dennis Santana Hits Jorge Mateo

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DodgerBlue.com 17 April, 2021 - 06:10pm 23 views

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Tension developed between the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres last season, and most expected it to return with the two teams viewed as the class of the National League and among the best in baseball.

Friday marked their first meeting of the 2021 regular season and it certainly did not disappoint. The Dodgers twice erased a deficit and went on to win 11-6 in extra innings.

There were dramatic hits and tense moments along the way, and tempers flared in the 10th inning when Dennis Santana hit Jorge Mateo with a pitch. Mateo’s body language made it clear he didn’t take kindly to it, and that seemingly drew the ire of Santana.

The two exchanged words but were quickly separated by teammates as both benches and bullpens cleared. “I just think that Mateo took exception,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said after the game.

“[Santana] lost one arm-side, there was certainly no intent. I’m glad that it got resolved and Dennis regained his composure to get out of that inning.”

Jorge Mateo gets hit… and the benches have cleared in San Diego.#HungryForMore pic.twitter.com/IuPf48DO0h

— Bally Sports San Diego (@BallySportsSD) April 17, 2021

The hit by pitch was part of a shaky appearance from Santana and one that had the Dodgers on the verge of suffering a loss. San Diego loaded the bases for Fernando Tatis Jr., who had already hit a home run in his first game back from the 10-day injured list.

Santana used a steady dose of sliders to get Tatis looking, and celebrated by pounding his chest toward the Dodgers’ dugout. “That was really fun to watch,” Roberts said.

“It felt like a playoff game. The crowd was into it, having fans — which we didn’t have last year — the home fans anticipated this matchup again, so there was a lot of buildup. The players, there was a lot of energy, focus, compete. Those guys didn’t quit, we didn’t quit. It was pretty cool to see that everyone contributed tonight.”

Roberts has been adamant about the Padres not being a rival to the Dodgers, but he relented a bit on that stance by admitting Friday’s game felt like such and was a postseason atmosphere.

That was a sentiment David Price agreed with, particularly after the dustup between Santana and Mateo. “I was kind of thinking about that out in the bullpen. All rivalries in baseball are really good, but once you get that first bench-clearing, that’s when it kind of goes to that next level,” Price said.

“I’m sure we’ll be ready to play [Saturday] and so will they. I think Kersh is throwing, so we’ll be ready.”

Read full article at DodgerBlue.com

Column: Brown is back as Padres launch season series against Dodgers

The San Diego Union-Tribune 17 April, 2021 - 07:06pm

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How much Dodger blue was flowing through the Gaslamp Quarter on Friday, hours before the teams squared off for the first time in 2021? Mere blocks away, how much brown and mustard ringed Petco Park?

Was the cheering more robust from those wearing hats the color of the deep ocean or the others, sporting the dirt-stained hues of a sandlot?

There’s lots of proving to do for the Padres, who last won the National League West when current catcher Luis Campusano was 7. A decade and a half melted away since San Diego called itself division champs, yet a Wall Street Journal story this week blared, “Dodgers-Padres Has Become Baseball’s Best Rivalry.”

Any use of the word “rivalry” is a working theory, to be clear. It’s a pulse-racing peek at the horizon.

The Dodgers, the defending World Series champs, surely feel like the confident, brazen bunch to the south represent the bratty kid who inherited daddy’s company — doing little to earn the spot at the end of the boardroom table.

The Dodgers may not be seeing red, but they’re definitely eyeing a whole lot more brown.

“To quote (pro wrestler) Rick Flair, to be the man you’ve got to beat the man,” said Padres fan Pete Weichers of San Marcos, dining with his 6-year-old son Jackson at Social Tap — ordering, of course, a .394 beer. “But you don’t want to take what’s going on right now for granted.”

Again, color provided the measuring stick.

“This series, the place is usually blue,” said aptly named Bub’s co-owner Todd Brown. “They take over. That’s not going to be the case this year.”

For the first time, Bub’s is playing Padres’ road games with full sound in the bar. The reason: There’s a full-throated market for it.

“That’s never happened in our 10 years,” Brown said. “Until now.”

So, call it a rivalry on training wheels. It’s finding its legs, its essence, its joie de vie.

The Padres continued their masterful, musical trolling of the Dodgers during batting practice. A little “Summer Wind” from Seals and Crofts. A little “Dust in the Wind” from Kansas. A little … well … “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.”

When the game began, the playful nature of things changed.

Dodgers leadoff hitter Mookie Betts worked a nine-pitch walk off first-time starter Ryan Weathers in the first inning. When the Padres immediately turned a Machado-to-Tatis-to-Hosmer double play, the “Beat L.A.!” chant roared with countless encores to come.

Gauging the Dodgers’ take on things, however, remains an exercise in contradictions.

Third baseman Justin Turner famously labeled the 19 scheduled meetings this season “19 World Series games.” Manager Dave Roberts, just as famously, predicted any rivalry would be “a ways down the road” with a well-crafted dig that “there’s more to a rivalry than just geography.”

Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager was asked about the blooming interplay Friday, using mental gymnastics to avoid giving the notion an ounce of credit.

At times, you thought he might nod off during the Zoom call.

“It’s just another division series,” Seager said.

Two lifelong friends wearing opposite colors brushed up on trash talking as they waited to enter Petco. Aldo Alcaraz, in blue, and Manny Romero, in a brown jersey with, well, guess the name on the back, played baseball together at Steele Canyon High School.

“Personally, I think the Padres have to do more before it’s a rivalry,” Alcaraz said.

“We’ll see after this series, bro,” Romero countered.

It’s not the Hatfields and McCoys in the bruising, bellowing style of the Yankees and Red Sox — at least until the McCoys find themselves in the division race when October looms. The Dodgers know, though, whether they admit it or not, that baseball is tuning in for this launching pad this weekend against this team.

As the crowd roared when the Friday opener lurched to life, it felt like something was changing. This week, Dodgers superstar outfielder Mookie Betts inched toward acknowledgment.

“Obviously, we know they’re good,” he said.

“But everyone’s good in the big leagues,” he said.

Padres outfielder Trent Grisham was asked to sort out the complexity of all these mixed baseball feelings, like a fleet-footed psychiatrist.

“I don’t want to speak for them, but for us, we’re going to have to see when we get out there,” he said. “It’s a new year, a new team, new faces on our side, new kind of moxie on our side. We’re going to have to get out there … (but) I’m sure that energy is going to be electric.”

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