The Los Angeles Dodgers marched into San Diego and were one bad inning away from completing a four-game sweep over the Padres. They finished the job on Monday in what ended up being a 13-7 rout after the Pads went up 5-0 early.
In the top of the fourth, after starter Seth Lugo had faced the minimum through three, the Dodgers tagged the right-hander for eight earned runs. LA recorded seven hits and two walks in the inning and batted around.
This led to Lugo calling out the Dodgers in the postgame, claiming they went forth with "bush league" tactics to capitalize on him tipping his pitches. Bush league or ... totally legal? There was speculation the Dodgers picked up on a tip, leaving the runners on second base to relay the information to the hitter. Totally legal. Part of the game.
Lugo's choice words rightfully got shredded apart, especially since a) we know what cheating constitutes after the Astros scandal that defined everything pretty clearly and b) he gave up EIGHT RUNS in a single inning and couldn't record two outs.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts joined in on the conversation when asked about Lugo's comments following the game.
Dave Roberts calling out Seth Lugo was perfect cap to Dodgers-Padres series
Roberts delivered a dart when he said it all "sounded like an excuse" from the Padres' pitcher, and then delved into standard practices on the baseball field to back up his assertion. Really can't argue with that, or this from The Athletic (subscription required):
"Roberts said 'you can tell' that some pitchers are particularly paranoid when it comes to other clubs picking up their signs, a concept that in theory should be more difficult in the age of PitchCom (the Padres were one of the clubs that had pitchers experiment with calling their own pitches this spring)."- Fabian Ardaya, The Athletic
Paranoid! To make matters worse for Lugo, his own manager, Bob Melvin, didn't have a problem if that's indeed what the Dodgers were doing, stating "every team does it." And that's someone who's been around the game a long time, just like Roberts.
The Padres are down bad. Nothing's going right for them this year despite a star-studded roster. But to start deflecting blame for your own poor performances? That's a new low, even for San Diego.
What's Lugo's explanation for how the other 25 innings of the series went? Because the Padres were dead in the water for pretty much all of them, with the exception of the eighth inning on Saturday night.