The Los Angeles Dodgers checked off the National League West title from their to-do list and now will look for a series sweep when they conclude a three-game set against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday night in Phoenix.
Los Angeles clinched a playoff berth on Monday and the division crown on Tuesday while blanking the Diamondbacks (66-75) on both nights.
It marks the ninth time in 10 seasons that the Dodgers won the NL West. The exception was last season when they finished second to the San Francisco Giants.
Having the division wrapped up with 21 games to go leaves the Dodgers (98-43) looking toward bigger goals.
“It feels good to get the NL West (title) back to Los Angeles,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said afterward. “I’m proud of our guys. Last year, we got the division taken from us, so for us to get it back, it was a lot of hard work.
“This is the first step. We’ve got a long way to go.”
Of course, Los Angeles has experienced a tough road in the postseason. The only World Series crown during the stretch came in the 2020 season that was shortened to 60 games due to COVID-19.
The Dodgers didn’t reach the World Series last season, losing to the Atlanta Braves in the NL Championship Series.
Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts enjoyed last season’s division battle with the Giants that went down to the last day. But he is just fine with clinching with three weeks to go.
“Last year we may have been tired (in the postseason) but had our chances and didn’t come through,” Betts said. “This year has been different. I wouldn’t say coast, but kind of preparing ourselves for the playoffs.”
Clayton Kershaw gave up two hits over seven scoreless innings in Tuesday’s 4-0 win. All of Los Angeles’ runs came on homers.
Freddie Freeman and Max Muncy each hit their 20th homer of the season.
Freeman’s 442-foot solo blast was his fourth in the past eight games. It is the ninth time Freeman has hit at least 20 blasts in a season.
Muncy has gone deep in three of his last five games. It is the fourth 20-homer season of his career.
Joey Gallo smacked a two-run homer, and the 438-foot blast was his fifth since joining the Dodgers and 17th overall.
The Diamondbacks have dropped six of their past seven games. Arizona has yet to score a run in the series and has just eight hits.
Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo watched the Dodgers celebrate their division title and envisioned better times for his club.
“It’s something that we see, we want to do that, we want to do that on our field,” Lovullo said afterward. “I want everyone to remember that. It’s going to be our turn, but we have a lot of work to do.”
Arizona right-hander Zach Davies (2-4, 4.09 ERA) will take the mound looking for his first victory since May 13.
Davies has received nine straight no-decisions and is 0-3 over his last 16 starts.
Davies, 29, is 0-2 with a 7.43 ERA in three starts against Los Angeles this season. Overall, he is 4-5 with a 3.15 ERA in 12 career starts against the Dodgers.
Justin Turner (8-for-24) has smacked two homers against Davies. Chris Taylor is just 4-for-24 with 11 strikeouts.
Roberts said right-hander Michael Grove (0-0, 4.82) will be recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City on Wednesday as the Dodgers’ probable starting pitcher.
Grove has pitched 9 1/3 innings for Los Angeles in three appearances (two starts) this season. He has a 2-14 minor league record and 5.84 ERA in 61 appearances (57 starts) since being a second-round pick in 2018.
The 25-year-old last pitched for the Dodgers on Aug. 29 when he allowed two runs and five hits over 4 2/3 innings against the Miami Marlins.
–Field Level Media