The Los Angeles Dodgers clinched the NL West title for the eighth year in a row with Monday night’s 7-2 victory over the Athletics and the Padres‘ 4-2 loss to the Angels.
The celebration mood is certainly going to be muted compared to previous division title revelries we’ve experienced due to COVID-19 protocols and the lack of reward for division titles in this season’s playoff format.
The Dodgers’ successful 2020 campaign should be celebrated, nonetheless. They’ve been damn good.
The night didn’t start off on a great note.
Not what you want to hear with the Wild Card Series starting a week from tomorrow. Nevertheless, the Dodgers prevailed over the A’s without Justin Turner in the lineup
Dustin May‘s fastball command was spotty, but the Dodgers’ offense picked him up with four home runs.
The A’s are a sneaky good team, coming into the series having already clinched their first division title since 2013. Oakland took an early lead when Robbie Grossman hit May’s sinker for a solo home run, bouncing it off the left foul pole.
Mookie Betts and Corey Seager hitting first and second in the Dodgers’ lineup just works. Betts lined a two-strike leadoff base hit off old friend Frankie Montas, and Seager drove him in with a single of his own to even things at one run apiece.
Cody Bellinger, cleanup hitter, continued the montage of hits vs. Montas with a double to right.
Will Smith lined into an inning ending double play, limiting the damage for Montas.
Meanwhile, the Angels and Padres were also tied 1-1 in the 3rd.
May pitched 5 1/3 innings of relief in a bullpen game in his last “start.” He pitched well at first, but then served up home runs to Jurickson Profar and Manny Machado. May was hit with a liner in the left foot September 10, coming out of the game without throwing a pitch in the 2nd inning.
The Dodgers are going to need this May in the playoffs.
The A’s took the lead in the top of the 3rd. They cashed in the leadoff walk to Sean Murphy and a wild pitch by May, 2-1.
Max Muncy picks up Seager with a two-run dong, his first since Sept. 4.
Chris Taylor‘s eighth home run of the season made it 4-2.
AJ Pollock‘s 13th long ball of the year gave the Dodgers a three-run lead.
The Angels led 3-1 over the Padres in the 6th.
The A’s got the tying run to the plate against May in the top of the 5th with Tony Kemp and Tommy La Stella at first and second with one out. May got out of it despite giving up a career-high three walks through 5 IP.
The Dodgers collected their fourth home run on the night, a Seager solo shot in the 5th.
Victor Gonzalez came out of the Dodgers’ bullpen in relief of May in the 6th.
May pitched five innings and allowed two runs on three hits with five strikeouts and three walks on 78 pitches (47 strikes).
There was some sloppy defense in the frame, and Dave Roberts brought in Dylan Floro to face pinch-hitter Khris Davis with runners at first and second and two outs. Davis struck out swinging on Floro’s changeup, stranding two runners.
Floro and Joe Kelly combined to pitch a scoreless 7th.
Seager was on base four times, his walk in the 7th had a little help from home plate umpire Cory Blaser. J.B. Wendelken‘s four-pitch walk to Muncy juiced the bases for the Dodgers with nobody out.
Final in San Diego: 4-2. The Dodgers will clinch the NL West title if they hold on to their lead at Dodger Stadium.
Matt Olson had a couple of brain farts in the bottom of the 7th, contributing to an ugly inning for Oaktown. Betts scored on an infield single by Belli to make it 7-2. CT3 grounded into the DP, and the Dodgers had to settle for one run.
Pedro Baez, with a four-man outfield behind him, struck out two in a 1-2-3 inning.
Jake McGee got the ball for the 9th and allowed a leadoff Lamb double but came back to strike out two and secure the Dodgers their 8th straight NL West title.
With the win and the clinch, the Dodgers improve to 39-16 overall and 17-8 at home.
Next up: The NL West champs go for win 40. Julio Urias (3-0, 3.49 ERA, 3.86 FIP) needs to figure out how to get through the 1st inning. His 9.00 ERA with three homers and five walks in the 1st is not going to play in the postseason. He faces Sean Manaea (4-3, 4.50 ERA) who hasn’t pitched longer than 5 1/3 innings. First pitch is at 6:40 PM PST.