Dodgers Clinch 2022 NL West Title

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With a 4–0 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday, the Los Angeles Dodgers have clinched the National League West division. This is the ninth division title the Dodgers have won in the last ten seasons. Currently, the team has a record of 98–43, and is poised to make another deep run in the playoffs. After winning a title in 2020, the Dodgers are looking to win their second title in three years.

The Dodgers were 42–15 against NL West opponents. They were 60–30 in the first half, and 37–13 in the second half of the season. They were 15–5 in interleague play and 38–6 in blowout games. This team has been a force all season, and with three weeks left in the season, they have wrapped up yet another division title.

 

Offense

Offensively the team has been dominated by three All-Stars, Mookie Betts, Trea Turner, and former Brave Freddie Freeman. Betts had a slow start to the season by his standards, but has been dominant as of late. In August, Betts hit .330/.383/.697 with nine home runs and 18 RBI. Defensively, Betts could earn his sixth career Gold Glove in the outfield. Leadoff hitter Trea Turner has been great for the Dodgers this season, and has hit .305/.350/.488 with 20 home runs, and 96 RBI. The 29-year-old earned his second All-Star selection this year. Turner adds speed to the Dodgers’ lineup leading the team in singles with 114 and stolen bases with 24.

Freddie Freeman signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers ahead of the 2022 season. So far, he has had a career year in 2022. Freeman is leading the league with a .330 average, doubles with 45, and is leading the National League in hits with 180. Baseball Writers will likely consider Freddie for the National League MVP award at the end of the season. Freeman was a critical part in defeating the Dodgers in 2021, but will be vital if the Dodgers were to triumph in 2022. Other staples to this lineup include infielders Gavin Lux, Max Muncy, and Will Smith. Along with familiar faces like Cody Bellinger, Justin Turner, and Chris Taylor. This roster also includes longtime journeyman Trayce Thompson and the newly acquired Joey Gallo.

 

Pitching and Defense

In addition to effective hitting, the Dodgers’ pitching staff has been stellar despite injuries to the starting rotation. The pitching staff is leading the National League in ERA with 2.86. They also are leading the National League in hits allowed, runs allowed, and walks allowed. With injuries to starters like Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, and Dustin May, the Dodgers had to rely on their depth to remain competitive. Surprisingly, starting pitchers Tyler Anderson, Julio Urias, and Tony Gonsolin have risen to the occasion. This trio has a combined record of 47–11 with an ERA below 2.70.

In addition, the bullpen has been great in 2022. Craig Kimbrel has been the closer for Los Angeles and has 25 saves. The biggest surprise in the bullpen was relief pitcher Evan Phillips. In 54 1/3 innings with the Dodgers, Phillips has an ERA of 1.33, 62 strikeouts, and a WHIP of 0.755. Phillips was taken off waivers from the Tampa Bay Rays in August 2021. During his time with the Dodgers, Phillips has been more reliant on his slider and fastball while introducing a sinker and cutter to his repertoire. If the Dodgers return to the World Series, these pitchers will need to dominate in October.

 

October Ambitions

With three weeks left on the MLB schedule, the Los Angeles Dodgers will not stop with just winning the National League West. They will likely want to secure a bye to the NLDS by having more wins than the NL East and Central Winners. The Dodgers will likely finish with the first seed in the National League, hosting games six and seven of the NLCS if they advance. They want to ensure they have the best record in baseball in case they make the World Series. Although the division win is nice, fans hope the Dodgers can match this success in October.

 

Main Photo Credit:
PHOENIX, Sep. 14 — The Los Angeles Dodgers gather on the field at Chase Field for a team photo after beating the Arizona Diamondbacks 4–0 to clinch the NL West Division Title. Photo Credit: Evan Thompson

Players Mentioned:

Mookie Betts, Trea Turner, Freddie Freeman, Gavin Lux, Max Muncy, Will Smith, Cody Bellinger, Justin Turner, Chris Taylor, Trayce Thompson, Joey Gallo, Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Dustin May, Tyler Anderson, Julio Urias, Tony Gonsolin, Craig Kimbrel, Evan Phillips