Is Dodgers-Padres still MLB's best rivalry? Breaking down both teams as they battle for the playoffs

AP Photo/Denis Poroy

The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres haven't played each other since June 23 -- that's two months, for those of you scoring at home -- and the latter's performance of late has been, well, less than inspiring. Still, that doesn't erase how heated this rivalry has been since last October.

With the two National League West contenders vying for, at the very least, the two NL wild-card spots -- if not the division crown -- sparks could fly again this week at Petco Park in the first three of their nine remaining clashes before the end of the regular season.

So can we expect fireworks this week and beyond? More memorable moments? Will we see the Dodgers eventually surpass the San Francisco Giants and take first place? Will the Padres -- gasp! -- miss the playoffs entirely? We asked ESPN baseball writers Alden Gonzalez and David Schoenfield to tackle some of the biggest questions facing L.A. and San Diego as a high-stakes September for both clubs quickly approaches.