As it turned out, a ninth consecutive division title was not in the books for the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers held up their end of the bargain by defeating the Brewers in their regular season finale, but the Giants did not give the Dodgers the help they needed to force a one-game divisional playoff.
The Dodgers used a six-run fifth inning — powered by another clutch grand slam from Trea Turner — to cruise to a 10-3 victory. The rally happened just in time for Walker Buhler to secure his 16th win of the year, a career high.
The Giants defeated the Padres 11-4 to clinch the division title by one full game over Los Angeles.
Buehler’s efforts have seemingly put him right in the middle of an NL Cy Young race with teammates Max Scherzer, Julio Urias, and Milwaukee starter Corbin Burnes, who started the game for the Brewers against the Dodgers on Saturday.
Buehler went five innings, allowing one run on three hits and a walk while striking out an impressive 11 batters. He threw 79 pitches.
Relievers Phil Bickford and Justin Bruihl combined for a perfect sixth inning for Los Angeles, while youngster Andre Jackson threw the final three frames of the afternoon to seal the win.
The biggest scare of the game for the Dodgers came in the third inning when first baseman Max Muncy, trying to field a throw from catcher Will Smith, collided with Milwaukee second baseman Jace Peterson. Muncy was pulled from the game after sustaining an injury to his elbow, but the severity remains unknown.
The Dodgers finished the regular season scalding hot, having won 18 of their last 21 games and 15 straight contests at home, which could provide a huge advantage against the Cardinals. St. Louis recently finished a hot streak of their own after winning 17 straight contests.
The Dodgers’ 106 regular season wins tie the 2019 club for the most in franchise history.
The Wild Card game is set to take place on Wednesday and will be televised on TBS. Both teams have already announced their starters in Scherzer and Adam Wainwright. Scherzer faced Wainwright in the 2019 NLCS and earned the win after throwing seven scoreless innings on just one hit while striking out 11 batters.
By no means will the Dodgers be looking past the Cardinals, but if Los Angeles wins the Wild Card game on Wednesday, they will subsequently face the Giants in a playoff series for the first time in team history.