Dodgers Win in San Diego, Clinch Postseason Berth
The Los Angeles Dodgers became the first team in baseball to clinch a playoff berth on Wednesday. After winning the rubber match against the San Diego Padres, combined with losses from the Colorado Rockies and Milwaukee Brewers, the Dodgers have been mathematically guaranteed a spot in the postseason. This will be the Dodgers’ eighth consecutive postseason appearance, continuing a franchise record.
The first squad in the postseason?
— MLB (@MLB) September 16, 2020
Brusdar Graterol was on the mound to start Wednesday’s bullpen game in San Diego. He was followed by Adam Kolarek, Dustin May, Victor Gonzalez, and Pedro Baez who effectively held the Padres’ offense to only three earned runs and six hits. AJ Pollock got the offense going in the second inning, smashing his 100th career home run. A three-run fifth inning extended the Dodgers lead to five and all but sealed the series victory. Mookie Betts stole three bases and Will Smith continued to prove he belongs in the starting lineup, driving in three runs on two hits. The Dodgers won, 7-5.
Hopefully Just the First Step of Many
For a team with aspirations as lofty as the Dodgers, clinching a playoff spot is just the first step. The Dodgers’ magic number for their eighth consecutive division title is six. If and when that happens, they would probably also be locked into the top overall seed in the National League. Like many years past, however, the success of the Dodgers’ season will be graded on their performance in October, which looks a little different this year.
There was barely any celebration for the Dodgers after locking up a playoff spot. In fact, most of the team was unaware of it entirely. “I just found it out five minutes ago,” manager Dave Roberts admitted in a postgame interview. “I think it caught us all by surprise — we were so focused on winning the series.”
The series win was an important one for the Dodgers. Wednesday’s win elevated the division lead on San Diego to 3.5 games, after it shrank to 1.5 games on Monday. Los Angeles will start a four-game series in Colorado on Thursday before coming home for three games against the Oakland Athletics and Los Angeles Angels, respectively, to close out the season. With a 35-15 record and a playoff spot clinched, the Dodgers will now set their sights on clinching an eighth straight division title.
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