SD-LAD rivalry amped up by these events

October 4th, 2020

If their regular-season series is any indication, the Dodgers and Padres just might stage an epic National League Division Series in Arlington, Texas, this week.

The showdown begins Tuesday and has all the makings of a thriller for two reasons: First, both teams are good -- they finished with the two best records in the NL this season. The Dodgers and Padres also don't particularly like each other.

Here's a recap of the essential moments from their 2020 feud:

Feb. 10: Betts signs with Dodgers

All winter, Mookie Betts was the hottest name on the trade market. His two most prominent suitors came from the NL West.

The Dodgers always seemed like favorites to land the MVP right fielder. But the Padres made their best offers, too -- including one that would've sent Wil Myers, cash and prospects to Boston.

On the eve of Spring Training, the Red Sox struck a deal. Betts was headed to L.A. It felt like a major blow to the re-tooling Padres. But Myers' remarkable turnaround has lessened the impact.

Aug. 3: Tatis runs through Smith

It got chippy the first time they played.

Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. got caught in a rundown between third and home. As he approached the plate, he found Dodgers catcher Will Smith in his path, and the two collided.

None too pleased, third baseman Justin Turner had a few choice words for Tatis as he left the field. Tatis said something back. That was that.

Aug. 5: Tatis flips, Grisham nailed at the plate

Two nights later, the Padres and Dodgers staged what was arguably the best regular season game of the entire season. Trailing, 4-0, in the fifth inning, Tatis launched a moonshot to the second deck at Petco Park. Then he flipped his bat with emphasis.

The Padres were on the comeback trail. But after a furious rally, that bid ended in the ninth. Los Angeles led, 7-6, when Manny Machado hit a liner to Chris Taylor in left field. Trent Grisham tagged from third, but Taylor delivered a strike to the plate, nabbing Grisham by a step. Game over.

Aug. 11: Another collision

This time, it was the Padres who took issue with a play at the plate. Tatis' relay throw to catcher Austin Hedges arrived well ahead of Taylor, who was trying to score from first on a double.

Hedges appeared to give Taylor a lane to the plate. But Taylor veered into the Padres' backstop. Hedges had words for Taylor and Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes, who was in the on-deck circle. First baseman Eric Hosmer intervened, and cooler heads prevailed.

Aug. 13: Three homers for Betts

Nothing contentious here. Just Betts obliterating the team he could've played for. Betts, who had by then signed a lucrative 12-year extension, homered in his first three at-bats, as the Dodgers rolled to an 11-2 victory.

Sept. 14: Grisham struts vs. Kershaw

The Padres and Dodgers saved their most contentious clash for their final series of the year.

With the Padres trailing by a run in the sixth, Grisham launched a no-doubt game-tying home run off Clayton Kershaw. He enjoyed the heck out of it, too.

Grisham spent several seconds glaring into Padres' dugout before screaming and breaking into his home run trot. As he rounded third base, the L.A. dugout barked at him. Grisham chirped back, then emphatically hopped onto home plate with both feet. Home-plate ump Mark Ripperger had to caution the Dodgers to remain in their dugout.

Grisham's home run would springboard the Padres to a 7-1 victory. Afterward, Roberts took issue, saying Kershaw deserved "a certain respect." Kershaw disagreed, saying, "Let him do what he wants." But the Dodgers, collectively, were not happy.

"That was kind of a punch in the mouth," Betts said. "We responded well."

They sure did. The Dodgers won the next two games, putting a bow on their eighth straight division title. The Padres, meanwhile, spoke longingly of a potential October rematch.

Three weeks later, here we are.