Dodgers rise above challenges, craft another 100-win season

LA first team to win 100-plus games in four straight non-shortened seasons

October 1st, 2023

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Dodgers came into Sunday’s game with their sights set on the postseason. Ultimately, their season will be defined by what happens over the next month.

But before the Dodgers start their run, they still had some business to take care of. And with a 5-2 win over the Giants at Oracle Park, the Dodgers won their 100th game of the season, becoming the seventh organization to win 100 games or more in three consecutive seasons.

Without counting the 2020 pandemic-shortened season, the Dodgers are the first organization to win 100 or more games in four consecutive full seasons. Since 2019, the Dodgers have won four National League West titles.

“From start to finish, I feel like a lot of the outside noise was doubting us this year, not the inside, in this clubhouse in Spring Training,” said Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman. “I don’t think winning 100 games surprises anybody in this clubhouse, but to do it when -- I mean, we have one guy [currently] in the starting rotation that was in Spring Training. ... We’ve faced a lot of ups and downs, and we rose above it and got to 100 wins.”

Freeman, Mookie Betts, Bobby Miller and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts all made sure to, without prompting, bring up the fact that the club heard some of the talk about them potentially easing the grip atop the NL West.

While it was expected that teams in the NL like the Padres and Mets, who spent a lot of money in the offseason, were going to take a step up, the Dodgers were still considered the betting favorites to win the NL West and compete for a World Series in 2023.

Even after losing the likes of Trea Turner, Justin Turner, Tyler Anderson and Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles still had likely first-ballot Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw, Betts, Freeman, J.D. Martinez, Max Muncy and Will Smith on its roster.

But whatever was said certainly bothered this Dodgers team, which huddled in the batting cage at Oracle Park after the game to celebrate yet another series win.

“I hear it the whole time. I heard it from the beginning,” Betts said of the alleged outside chatter. “They have jobs to do. Write stories and all those types of things. And they got to be appealing. We can’t do anything about that. All we can do is go out and play. We know what we’re capable of. We did a pretty good job.”

Regardless of what the Dodgers read or watched on Instagram reels, the club did have to overcome a lot in order to reach the 100-win mark this season.

As Freeman alluded to, Kershaw is the only starting pitcher currently on the roster that was in the Opening Day rotation. Noah Syndergaard proved to be a bad signing, Tony Gonsolin and Dustin May suffered season-ending injuries and Julio Urías has been on paid administrative leave following domestic violence charges since the start of September. In those absences, the Dodgers had to rely on a handful of rookie pitchers, led by Miller, to get them through the grueling 162-game schedule.

“To go through a season with all that we went through and still come out with 100 wins, that’s very commendable and certainly there are a lot of people that get a lot of credit for that,” Roberts said. “To see where we’re at and the position we put ourselves in says a lot about that group.”

Offensively, however, the Dodgers were able to put together one of the best seasons in franchise history. Betts, Freeman, Martinez and Muncy all drove in more than 100 runs. Betts and Freeman will likely both finish in the top three in NL MVP voting.

That offense will have most of the spotlight next weekend when the Dodgers host either the Brewers or D-backs in the NLDS on Saturday at Dodger Stadium. And while they’re thrilled to hit the 100-win mark yet again, now it’s time for them to put together 11 more wins to cap off a second World Series title in four seasons.

"When guys have been around like I've been around for a long time, baseball's played on the diamond, out on the field,” Freeman said. “It's not on paper or who spends the most money and blah blah blah. Outside noise is outside noise. It's very easy to shut it off and go out and play the game when you know you're a good team."