With nine games to go until the start of the playoffs, the Los Angeles Dodgers are one game behind the San Francisco Giants. The Dodgers and Giants both have three series left to capture the NL West division title. The winner will gain home-field advantage during the postseason. The loser must face the Wild Card team in a winner-take-all one-game playoff to face the NL West champion. This means that either the Dodgers and Giants will face each other in the postseason, or a 100-game winning team will go home after losing one playoff game. The playoff game will likely be against the St. Louis Cardinals, who have a five-game lead for the second Wild Card spot in the National League.
The Dodgers are two games away from a 100-win season while the Giants are only one win away from accomplishing that same feat. It seems unlikely that either team will fail to win two of nine of their remaining games this season.
Remaining Schedule for the Dodgers
The Dodgers face the Arizona Diamondbacks, San Diego Padres, and Milwaukee Brewers for three games apiece. The Dodgers are 14-2 against the Diamondbacks, including a three-game sweep at home versus the last-place team in the division during their previous meeting from September 13-15. From Arizona, the Dodgers fly home to face the Padres whom they are 9-7 against, including a three-game sweep at home versus the Padres during their previous meeting from September 10-12. Then the Dodgers will face the toughest challenge of their remaining schedule to end the season. They will battle the Brewers in Los Angeles. The Brewers are in first place in the NL Central division. The Dodgers are 1-3 against the Brew Crew this season, losing a four-game set in Milwaukee earlier this year. The Dodgers are 23-12 combined against the Diamondbacks, Padres, and Brewers this season. That amounts to a win percentage of 66%.
Remaining Schedule for the Giants
The Giants have the easier schedule to end the season with the final nine games to go before the playoffs. The Giants face the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field for the first of their remaining games. San Francisco is 12-4 against the Rockies this season. After a three-game series in Colorado, the Giants return home to face the Diamondbacks. The Giants are 14-2 against Arizona this season. After three games with Arizona, the Padres come to San Francisco to finish off the season. Like the Dodgers, the Giants are 9-7 versus the Padres this season. The Giants are 35-13 combined against the Rockies, Diamondbacks, and Padres this season. That amounts to a win percentage of 73%.
Looking Ahead with Nine Games Left
The Giants have the better record against the remaining teams on their schedule. San Francisco does not have to face a first-place team like the Dodgers. But it should be mentioned that the Brewers have already clinched their division, so they may not want to start all of their best players to finish out the season. They may instead decide it best to rest some of their star players. With that said, it seems like the Dodgers have constantly been looking up at the Giants in the standings this season. If there ever was a time to make a push for the playoffs, that time is now. The Dodgers need to make that push while the Giants need to keep the heat on. Neither team wants to be in a one-game playoff after such a hard-fought season.
Clayton Kershaw and AJ Pollock will likely need to remain healthy for the Dodgers’ push towards the postseason. Kershaw has been recovering from elbow inflammation and has made two starts since returning. Pollock injured his hamstring sliding into third base and has made one start since returning to the Dodgers. The Dodgers hope both will remain healthy. The Giants are hoping that Scott Kazmir can continue to make an amazing comeback since being away from MLB since 2016 when he pitched for the Dodgers. The Giants will also likely need Johnny Cueto to be at his best during the playoffs. The former all-star and Cy Young candidate has not been the same pitcher since his first season with the Giants in 2016. Cueto was sent to the Giants triple-A affiliate yesterday for a rehab assignment but has yet to pitch. He is currently recovering from a right elbow strain.
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