LA earns playoff advantage, on verge of franchise mark

September 26th, 2022

LOS ANGELES -- With a 4-1 win over the Cardinals on Sunday at Dodger Stadium, the Dodgers have matched the franchise’s single-season record with 106 wins. They became the first team ever to win 106 or more games in three consecutive full season (2019, ‘21).

“It’s amazing,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “You’re looking at a lot of years of baseball, almost 200 years of baseball. To do that, speaks to the consistency and the level of excellence and the standard we’ve set here with the Dodgers. It takes a lot of people to accomplish what we’ve done.”

Perhaps more importantly is that the Dodgers also secured home-field advantage through the National League Championship Series, meaning the road to the World Series will go through Dodger Stadium, where the Dodgers are 54-21, the best home mark in the NL.

“It’s the only stadium with four decks, and they are loud,” said Dodgers first baseman , who has been on the other side of the Dodger Stadium crowd in October. “The loudest stadium I’ve ever heard was this place in 2013 when Juan Uribe hit that home run against [the Braves]. This place is going to be deafening.”

The Dodgers have been dominant all season long. They were the first team to clinch a postseason berth. Los Angeles won the NL West in record time, doing so 12 days ago in Arizona.

It’s been an impressive season for the Dodgers on both sides of the ball. They lead the NL with a 322 run differential, nearly doubling the defending champion Braves, who are second with a plus-166 run differential. All the Dodgers have left to accomplish in the regular season is to secure home-field advantage through the World Series.

“It’s super important to get home-field advantage,” said Dodgers catcher . “We missed out on it last year and that probably wore us down a little bit.”

Despite all of their success this season, the Dodgers still have some questions heading into the postseason. Los Angeles has been bit by the injury bug over the last two months, particularly on the pitching side.

Before the game, Roberts discussed his team’s pitching situation ahead of an expected long October run. The latest injured pitcher is Dustin May, who will be out for the remainder of the regular season with low back tightness and his status for the postseason is suddenly a little cloudy.

Roberts wouldn’t specify where May’s injury is. May was in a hurry Sunday and turned down reporters when approached by his locker. Blake Treinen (right shoulder soreness) is also likely done for at least the remainder of the regular season, given that he hasn’t picked up a baseball since suffering a setback earlier this week.

Even with the recent injuries, Roberts said the Dodgers do have enough pitching to overcome it. Over the last two nights, the Dodgers’ pitching staff has done a pretty good job backing up their manager’s claims.

Los Angeles allowed just three runs over the last two games against St. Louis, a team they could face next month. On Sunday, rookie right-hander got the start and pitched well once again. Grove allowed one run on three hits over five innings of work. followed with a clean sixth. wrapped it up with a rare three-inning save.

Grove and Jackson might not be options in October, but they’re giving the Dodgers enough depth just in case the team suffers another injury.

“Can’t say enough about Michael today,” Roberts said. “He was under the weather but was determined he was going to make this start. After the fifth inning, I felt he had given us everything he had. I really tip my cap to him.”

Over the final nine games of the regular season, the Dodgers will continue to work through their postseason plans. They aren’t quite as clear as they once were. But with 106 wins and counting, the Dodgers have shown they can overcome many obstacles.

With one more win, they’ll become the most accomplished regular-season team in franchise history.

“To take a step back and realize all the hard work and the grind that goes into it from day one of Spring Training to this point,” Freeman said. “To potentially have the franchise record in wins is pretty special for this group.”