Posted on September 11, 2019, by Bryan Zarpentine
On Tuesday night in Baltimore, the Los Angeles Dodgers did something they’ve accomplished many times before. They won the NL West. The Dodgers are the first team to officially punch their ticket for the 2019 MLB postseason, clinching the NL West Tuesday with a 7-3 win over the Orioles. It’s the seventh consecutive season that the Dodgers have won the NL West, and the club hopes that the seventh time will be the charm when it comes to following it up with a World Series title.
“You got to tip the hat to the front office and the job that they do every year creating so much depth,” Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner said amidst the post-game celebration. “You look at the guys around this room, I think every single guy had their finger on winning this division for the seventh straight year. So many good players [with] one goal in mind — that’s to win the World Series.”
With the Dodgers clinching the division so early in September, it’s long been a forgone conclusion that Los Angeles would win the division. The Dodgers currently hold a lead of 18.5 games on the second-place Diamondbacks. For that reason, it was a different kind of celebration, especially compared to last season when the Dodgers had to overcome a deficit in the NL West and win a one-game tiebreaker with the Rockies to claim the division.
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“Under the situation that we put ourselves in last year, this doesn’t seem as dramatic,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “It was more subdued. It was kind of just of organic. It was one of those things where we expected it.
“It’s obviously early in September, but it doesn’t take away from what we as an organization accomplished. As a game, it’s tough; it’s a grind. So when you do get moments like this, we do a good job of appreciating what we have accomplished, and it’s special. To win one division, but to win seven in a row — the consistency of the organization to do what we’ve done, a lot of credit goes to a lot of people. Now is the idea of just refocusing in everything we do going forward is to win 11 games in October.”
It’s not that postseason success has eluded the Dodgers. They’ve won at least one postseason series in four of the last six years. The Dodgers have also gone to the World Series in each of the past two seasons. However, they’ve fallen short of winning their first championship since 1988 on both occasions. The mission for the Dodgers now is to get back to the Fall Classic and finally win it.
The next step for Los Angeles, aside from getting healthy and staying sharp, is to close out home-field advantage throughout the National League playoffs. The Dodgers currently lead the Braves by four games for the best record in the NL. Pushing to lock up the top spot in the National League should prevent the Dodgers from taking it easy during the final 16 games of the season.
“Everything we do going forward is to win 11 games in October,” said Roberts. “The question we’re all going to get asked is, are we going to let our guard down, lose our edge going into the postseason? That’s something that I don’t expect from our team, and tomorrow we’re going to expect to win a baseball game.”