The Dodgers overcame an unprecedented wave of injuries, and an eight-game deficit in late June, to win their fourth consecutive National League West division title with a fourth consecutive 90-plus-win season, all under the direction of first-year manager Dave Roberts.Here are five key days in the club's improbable journey.• Get
The Dodgers overcame an unprecedented wave of injuries, and an eight-game deficit in late June, to win their fourth consecutive National League West division title with a fourth consecutive 90-plus-win season, all under the direction of first-year manager Dave Roberts.
Here are five key days in the club's improbable journey.
• Get Dodgers' postseason gear
1. June 26: Clayton Kershaw lost in Pittsburgh, suffered a back injury that would sideline him for 2 1/2 months and the Dodgers fell eight games out of first place. But instead of folding, the Dodgers won seven of the next eight games and embraced the theme of a resilient squad determined to overcome any obstacle.
2. April 6: Kenta Maeda failed his physical, coming out of Japan and into the season an unknown. Throwing six scoreless innings and adding a home run in his debut set a reassuring tone that continued throughout the season as Maeda proved to be the rotation workhorse, making a smooth and consistent transition to the Major Leagues.
3. June 16: Justin Turner called out Yasmani Grandal in the dugout for a baserunning mistake, a carryover from a spontaneous postgame meeting with Roberts after a series loss in San Francisco four days earlier. The Dodgers lost the night of the argument, but then reeled off a six-game win streak that seemed to signal an awakening.
4. Aug. 2: Polarizing focal point Yasiel Puig was demoted to the Minor Leagues. The goal was to deliver a wake-up call to the talented but undisciplined Puig. A side benefit was the statement to the clubhouse that no player was bigger than the team. Josh Reddick, acquired to replace Puig, struggled early, creating playing time for rookie Andrew Toles, whose dramatic game-winning grand slam in the ninth inning of the nightcap of a Colorado doubleheader prevented a series sweep when the race was still close.
5. Sept. 25: It was a Hollywood ending for Vin Scully's Dodger Stadium farewell, an extra-inning walkoff homer to clinch. The hero was journeyman Charlie Culberson, beating one of his former clubs, Colorado, and eliminating another, San Francisco, from NL West title contention. The ending symbolized that on any given day, virtually any of the 40 active players could step up and win a game.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com.