Obviously, no one’s going to focus on the outcome of this game all that much. Clayton Kershaw went 3.2 innings in his final tune-up and got his seven whiffs for 301 strikeouts, putting him atop the MLB strikeout leaderboard for the first time in his career. The Padres threw out a bullpen game, and allowed homers to Joc Pederson, Corey Seager, and Chris Heisey. Two of them came off of Jon Edwards, a pitcher I’d never heard of before. Luis Avilan gave some of that lead back by letting Travis Jankowski collect a homer of his own, but again, whatever. Chris Hatcher threw a scoreless ninth to finish it off. Alex Guerrero went 0-4 to drop his OBP to .261 in what very well may have been his final game as a Dodger, one would hope.
(Speaking of Seager:)
Close calls, but Corey Seager and Byron Buxton will both be eligible for our Top 100 prospects list after the season.
— Ben Badler (@BenBadler) October 4, 2015
The point isn’t what happened against a team that vaguely resembled the San Diego Padres. The point is: Man, it’s over. Another division title, the third in a row. Another 90-win season, the third in a row. Mattingly’s fifth winning season in five tries, and while the massive payroll demands that merely finishing over .500 isn’t good enough, well, I remember what 2011-12 were like. Home field advantage in the NLDS against the Mets.
And so we look forward to that NLDS, through four days off that will be dominated by some fascinating Wild Card games, and to welcome Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard against Kershaw and Zack Greinke on Friday and Saturday, in what looks like a fascinatingly competitive series. (Yes, the Mets have been atrocious lately, scoring only two runs in their last 43 innings, but if we said that momentum didn’t matter for the Dodgers, it sure doesn’t for them, either.)
Parts of this season have felt like a mere prelude to getting back to the playoffs, and while that’s short-sighted — hi, Boston and Washington! — it also says a lot about the expectations of this organization. It’s been a fun season, and we’re pretty pleased you chose to share it with us here. On to the playoffs. On to heartburn. On to insanity. On, hopefully, to fond memories.