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Why each team can win the Padres-Dodgers NLDS matchup

The Padres and Dodgers square off in an NLDS matchup of NL West rivals. We offer picks and predictions on both squads.

A general shot of an NLDS logo prior to game one of the 2016 NLDS playoff baseball series between the Chicago Cubs and the San Francisco Giants at Wrigley Field. Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres will square off in the National League Division Series, the best matchup in the playoffs if you’re going strictly based on records.

The Dodgers went an MLB-best 43-17 in the regular season. The Padres weren’t that far behind, going 37-19 to secure second place in the NL West.

Los Angeles narrowly won the season series 6-4, but enter the NLDS as pretty heavy favorites, according to DraftKings Sportsbook. Here are the odds:

  • Los Angeles Dodgers: -286
  • San Diego Padres: +225

Why the Padres can win

San Diego arguably has the deepest lineup in baseball with two elite hitters in Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado. As we saw in Game 2 against the Cardinals, when the Padres overcame an early 4-0 deficit to win 11-9, you can never count them out because of how quickly they can tack on runs.

The Padres were third in the NL in runs and homers and also third in the NL in ERA as they have one of the most dynamic rotations in baseball when healthy.

Why the Dodgers can win

The Dodgers are the most complete team in MLB, ranking No. 1 in the National League in runs and ERA. Their lineup is just as deep and powerful as San Diego’s, with plenty of options from both sides of the plate.

Unlike San Diego, Los Angeles has plenty of postseason experience, as this is it’s eight straight season in the NLDS. But where the Dodgers really have an advantage in this series is starting pitching. All five of their starters posted ERAs below 3.50 in the regular season. And while the Padres have great depth too, they aren’t healthy. Mike Clevinger and Dinelson Lamet are both nursing arm injuries and it’s unclear if they will be available in the NLDS.

Prediction

If the Padres’ pitching staff was healthy, this series would be a toss-up. But if Clevinger and Lamet can’t give it a go, it’s hard to imagine San Diego going toe-to-toe with a Dodger team that only lost one series all season.

For that reason, I’m taking the Dodgers.