Obviously, the Dodgers are aiming higher, but they are now guaranteed to play after the regular season ends. After the team’s 14-5 victory this afternoon, former (and potentially future) Dodger Russell Martin hit a three run home run off of other former Dodger Jonathan Broxton, which led to a Pittsburgh Pirates victory over the Milwaukee Brewers. The Pirates’ victory was significant because it means that the Dodgers can no longer fall below the Brewers in the Wild Card standings (remember when they were in first in the central and won five of six from the Dodgers? That must feel like a long time ago to them.) This guarantees that the Dodgers can no longer finish any lower than the second wild card position.
The Giants currently hold the first Wild Card slot and have just begun their game against the Padres. The Dodgers are three games up pending completion of that game. The Dodgers have eight games remaining, and including the game in progress the Giants have ten. The Dodgers are guaranteed to be in first place when the two teams meet for a three game series on Monday, and their magic number to clinch the west (and not depending on a play-in game to reach the NLDS) currently stands at seven. It won’t be an easy path, as six of the Dodgers’ final eight games will be started by players not named Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, but the Dodgers are definitely in the driver’s seat. A clinch against their rivals is a definite possibility.
The team has even higher goals:
#Dodgers Matt Kemp on maybe clinching wild card: "We have bigger plans than that. I'd still like to get the best record in NL." 1 GB Nats
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) September 19, 2014
Even so, it’s nice to know that no matter what happens in the next nine days, the Dodgers will have at least one more game to play. Clayton Kershaw is currently lined up to start that game, too. The Dodgers aren’t done, but they’ll be one of the ten to move forward.