Photo by Gregory Bull / AP Photo
For the first time in 14 years the San Diego Padres are in the playoffs.
The Padres began their first round of the playoffs against the St. Louis Cardinals for the Wild Card round at Petco Park.
It’s a best-of-three series and the Cardinals are now up 1-0 over the Padres after a 7-4 win on Wednesday evening.
St. Louis is a notorious postseason villain for the Padres. San Diego was eliminated by the Cardinals in the Division Series in three of its last four postseason appearances.
The Padres come into the playoffs as the fourth-seeded National League team while St. Louis ranks as number five. The Friars boast the second-best regular-season record for the NL, only behind their division rival Los Angeles Dodgers.
COVID-19 restrictions mean fans cannot watch the game in the ballpark. George Rogers, a San Diego resident and Padres fan, said supporting his team from next to the ballpark is an experience with mixed emotions.
“It is awesome to see them back in the postseason,” Rogers said. “It is a bit bittersweet because I would give anything to be inside Petco. But I will be very close, within a block rooting them on as loud as I can.”
While fans are not allowed in the stands, the Padres are hosting drive-in watch parties at the Lexus Premier Lot near the stadium. And tickets for the big-screen viewing have already sold out.
Fans have also been gathering at local bars and restaurants to cheer on their team.
Allie Garibay, bar manager at Bub’s at the Ballpark, said fans have been coming out to cheer on their teams as of late, even during a difficult year.
“It’s definitely been a challenge, but we are taking it day by day. You are starting to see all of the fans come out again,” she said. “Obviously you can see we are starting to pick up for this first game.”
All of Major League Baseball’s Wild Card games will be played at the home ballpark of the higher seed, meaning the Padres will be at Petco Park for the entirety of the first series against the Cardinals.
Petco Park is also slated to host one of two American League Division Series and the American Championship Series for this year’s MLB postseason.
While Padres fans have a lot to be excited about, injuries to Mike Clevinger and Dinelson Lamet have kept their two best pitchers sidelined during the wildcard round.
But Padres fan George Rogers has a bold prediction for what will happen for the Padres in this year’s playoffs.
“We’re going to get our pitchers back next round, going to beat the Dodgers next round. Go all the way. Why not, it’s 2020, we can do it,” Rogers said.
With the 60-game shortened MLB season, the Padres are one of 16 teams to play in the 2020 MLB playoffs.
The Padres have reached the playoffs only five times since their introduction to the league in 1969. The last time they won a playoff series was in 1998.
The next game against the Cardinals takes place Thursday at 2 p.m. and, if necessary, the final game of the three-game series will take place at 7 p.m. on Friday.
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