With Bellinger, bombs and balls in the ocean, the Dodgers became the fastest Dodgers squad to clinch the National League West with their 7-3 victory over the Orioles on Tuesday night. As they prepare for October, let’s take a look back at some of the highlights that pushed Los Angeles
With Bellinger, bombs and balls in the ocean, the Dodgers became the fastest Dodgers squad to clinch the National League West with their 7-3 victory over the Orioles on Tuesday night. As they prepare for October, let’s take a look back at some of the highlights that pushed Los Angeles to the postseason:
1. Opening Day record
The offense tipped its hand on Opening Day to what became a National League single-season record for home runs with their first eight, an MLB record for Opening Day, in a 12-5 crushing of the D-backs at Dodger Stadium on March 28. Joc Pederson and Enrique Hernández slugged a pair of homers each. Corey Seager, Max Muncy, Cody Bellinger and Austin Barnes also homered.
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2. Birthday bash
Joc Pederson's two-homer birthday took a back seat to another brilliant display of talent from Cody Bellinger, who robbed 2018 NL MVP Christian Yelich of an eighth-inning homer with his glove, then slugged a game-winning blast off Josh Hader in the ninth for a wild 6-5 win on April 21.
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3. Turner breaks out
Justin Turner's history of slow starts continued with a homerless April, but he went off on May 7 with a three-homer game and a career-high six RBIs in a 9-0 Dodgers win over the Braves.
4. Ryu flirts with history
Hyun-Jin Ryu's NL Cy Young Award campaign got the attention of baseball when he nearly threw a no-hitter against Washington on May 12, losing it to a Gerardo Parra double with one out in the eighth inning.
5. Rally caps
Comebacks were commonplace for the Dodgers this year, and this was the most impressive, rallying from five runs down after the seventh-inning stretch and a remarkable 9-8 walk-off win against the Mets and closer Edwin Diaz on May 29. To overcome rough outings by their two best young pitchers, Walker Buehler and Julio Urias, who allowed a pair of home runs each, Los Angeles rallied in the ninth with back-to-back homers from Pederson and Max Muncy, followed by back-to-back doubles from Turner and Bellinger.
6. Now that's a catchphrase
Muncy homered off Madison Bumgarner, reason enough for Muncy to be a fan favorite on June 9. But the ensuing exchange is already legendary. Bumgarner yelled at Muncy for watching it, prompting Muncy's epic response -- "If you don't like me watching the ball, you can go get it out of the ocean." T-shirts couldn't be silk-screened fast enough.
7. Buehler racks up K's
On a night when Matt Beaty slugged a walk-off two-run home run with two out in the bottom of the ninth inning, Buehler was the bigger star with a career-high 16 strikeouts and his first complete game to beat the Rockies, 4-2, on June 21.
8. Historic game-winning homers
Will Smith capped an unprecedented walk-off weekend on June 23, following game-winning homers by Beaty and Alex Verdugo with one of his own. Recalled before the game, Smith came off the bench and delivered a three-run walk-off dinger to give the Dodgers a 6-3 victory over the Rockies.
9. Ryu makes Midsummer Classic history
Ryu became the first Korean player to start an All-Star Game, and he lived up to his dominant first half with a scoreless inning on July 8 at Progressive Field.
10. Make it seven straight
A year removed from clinching on the last possible date of the season, the Dodgers turned it around in 2019 for history in the opposite respect. Behind seven shutout innings from Buehler, two homers from Seager and the first career long ball from Gavin Lux, the Dodgers clinched their seventh consecutive National League West crown in 146 games with a 7-3 win over the Orioles. Only five teams in the Wild Card era have done it quicker, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.