Another regular season is coming to an end, but this was like no other. From being shortened to the uncertainty of games due to the COVID-19 pandemic made it different than any other we’ve witnessed. But here we are in the final week of the season, and the Dodgers are at the cusp of their eighth consecutive National League West Division title. Already having clinched a postseason berth, the Dodgers seem to be destined for that No. 1 seed.
The Dodgers took care of business in the regular season, but the real thing begins in the postseason. The newly added three-game opening round will certainly cause more nerves in fans. However, the Dodgers have only lost one three-game series this year. But, like we’ve all seen in recent years, anything can happen in the postseason.
As of now, that eighth spot is up for grabs, currently sitting there are the Phillies. But the Reds, Cardinals, Brewers, and Giants are all within two games of that spot. The Reds are 8-2 in their last 10 games , moving them up to a 28-27 record. Personally, I think out of those teams the Reds poise the biggest threat. This is due to the pitchers they can trot out during a short series in Trevor Bauer, Sonny Gray, and Luis Castillo, all of whom are aces, essentially. Neverhteless, regardless of whatever team gets that last spot, the Dodgers will be favorites and will be expected to take care of business.
The last two series of the season will be against American League teams. The first beginning Tuesday night against the Oakland Athletics and then finishing the season with the Los Angeles Angels. The Athletics and Dodgers series will see two of the top teams in the majors face off.
There has been buzz that this could be a World Series preview, and the Athletics did just clinch the American League West. Oakland is currently the third seed in the American League behind the White Sox and Rays, so any of those teams could make a deep run in October. It would be a nice story if the Dodgers and Athletics meet since the Dodgers could win it all for the first time since 1988 when they took down the Athletics.
During this series, the Dodgers can clinch the division and also be the first team to 40 wins. The magic number for the division currently sits at two. If the Dodgers win today, combined with a Padres loss, they will have clinched. The Padres play the Angels, so that will be a game to scoreboard watch.
The first game of the three-game series Oakland will be started by Dustin May. May has a great season, as he stepped in when Clayton Kershaw went down with a back injury on Opening Day. May did take a liner off his foot back on September 10 but looked comfortable pitching out of the bullpen against the Padres last Wednesday. He pitched 5.1 innings and only allowed one earned run. On the season in multiple roles, he’s posted a 2.68 ERA and a 1-1 record.
The Dodgers will face righty Frankie Montas who spent time in the Dodgers organization years ago. Montas was brought to the Dodgers in a trade with the White Sox and spent about a year in the minors both in Double A and Triple A until he was traded to Oakland for Rich Hill and Josh Reddick.
Montas is 3-4 this season with a 5.86 ERA. First pitch is set for 6:40 p.m. Pacific time.
The Dodgers hope to use the remaining games as tuneups before the postseason begins. While this season was a bit of a blur, I think all baseball fans can agree that we’re just grateful we were able to have some baseball.