With just a single game remaining on their regular season schedule, there are still a number of different scenarios which can affect the Dodgers‘ postseason destiny. But with their 10-6 win on Saturday afternoon against the Giants, Los Angeles is guaranteed at least one game in the month of October.
The best case scenario is that the Rockies lose their final two games against the Nationals while the Dodgers win Sunday’s finale against San Fran, allowing the Dodgers to claim their sixth straight division crown. Should Colorado split and Los Angeles win, there will be division tie-breaking played at Dodger Stadium on Monday. If the Rockies win both or if the Dodgers lose, the Boys in Blue will be travelling to either Milwaukee or Chicago for the one-game Wild card affair, depending on what happens Sunday in the Central division.
With staff ace Clayton Kershaw on the mound in a normally pitcher-friendly park, fans of the Dodgers would have never guessed the club needed all the offensive firepower they could muster to defeat the Giants.
Tied at five apiece headed into the eighth inning, Manny Machado‘s triple drove home Chris Taylor which gave the Dodgers the lead for good. Los Angeles added another four runs in the ninth inning, but skipper Dave Roberts still felt the need to use closer Kenley Jansen after Zac Rosscup walked the first San Francisco batter in the bottom of the ninth.
Early in the game, Joc Pederson and Yasiel Puig connected for solo home runs against San Fran starter Dereck Rodriguez in the first and second innings, respectively. It was Pederson’s 25th long ball of the year and his eighth blast to leadoff a game, which broke Davey Lopes‘ record of seven set in 1979. Second baseman Enrique Hernandez hammered three hits, including a double, while five other batters in all logged multi-hit games for the Dodgers.
Kershaw was not his normal self—to say the least—as he barely scratched through five full innings after allowing five earned runs on eight hits. Ryan Madson, Alex Wood and Kenta Maeda combined for three shutout innings before Jansen’s inherited runner scored in the ninth.
In theory, the Dodgers would have preferred to keep Jansen fresh for Sunday’s regular-season finale, but the thought of securing a berth in the 2018 postseason apparently trumped all of the possible scenarios.
As of now, rookie righty Walker Buehler is prepared to start for the Dodgers on Sunday; yet that strategy could change depending on how the Rockies fare against the Nationals in Denver on Saturday evening.
First pitch for Sunday’s contest in San Francisco is slated for 12:05 p.m. Los Angeles time.