On a night where most of the chatter around MLB was about the New York Yankees being statistically eliminated from the playoffs, and thus signifying the fact that Derrick Jeter’s career is that much closer to being over, the LA Dodgers had their own celebration to account for. Despite the fact that the San Francisco Giants took an early lead in the 3rd, Clayton Kershaw was able to settle things down and clinch the NL West for the Dodgers. Now with just a series left against the Rockies, the Dodgers have the 5.5-game lead that the needed to edge out San Francisco.
The Dodgers have to be happy with the way that things have played out in September. While the race for the NL West was hot at the beginning of the month, the Dodgers and Giants have gone down different paths in the last few weeks. The Giants, who fell out of contention, have gone 3-7, while the Dodgers went 6-4 for a late push. What might be most important is the fact that the last two wins for the Dodgers came against the Giants, which was what furthered the gap between the two squads.
On Wednesday night it was all about Clayton Kershaw. On the evening, Kershaw won his 21st game, and he’ll finish the regular season with a 21-3 record. His ERA of 1.80 is the lowest for a 20-win pitcher since Dwight Gooden accomplished the feat in 1985.
Not only did Kershaw handle things on the mound, but he also got things started at the plate as well. He hit a triple in the 5th that sent Charles Crawford home and got the Dodgers on the board. In the 6th, Yasiel Puig would start things off with a homer, and then Matt Kemp and Hanley Ramirez would score off a Crawford double. Crawford would then score again when Juan Uribe singled to left.
The Dodgers came on strong again in the 8th, as they’d put up four more runs to put things at 9-1 on the evening.
The strong effort on both offense and defense is exactly what the Dodgers will need throughout the playoffs. And with as well as they’ve been playing all season, maybe it shouldn’t come as such a surprise that they played so well.
The team that currently sits tied with the Angels and Nationals at 9/2 odds to win the World Series has been getting things done all year long with their star-studded lineup. On offense, they rank 2nd in the league in OBP, 3rd in batting average, and 7th in runs. Their pitching staff has the sixth best ERA at 3.40, 5th most amount of quality starts at 99, and 9th lowest BBA at .242. With the playoffs just a week away, be sure to check back with sportspicks.com to see if the Dodgers can keep up these red-hot stats throughout October.
Giant’s fans shouldn’t fret too much, despite the fact that they won’t win the NL West. They still have a 99.7% chance of making the playoffs as a wildcard team. That could mean that we see another series between these two teams sooner than expected if they meet in the playoffs.