Tuesday night showed why Clayton Kershaw is a first-ballot Hall of Famer and why he will have a plaque in Cooperstown one day. It also showed every bit of reason why the Dodgers signed Mookie Betts to a 12-year, $365 million contract extension. In an almost-perfect evening, the Los Angeles Dodgers cruised to an 8-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 1 of the World Series.
The Los Angeles Dodgers swept the National League Division Series against the San Diego Padres on Thursday night. While Game 3 didn’t provide the anxiety that Wednesday night did, the Los Angeles offense made it look easy, putting up 14 hits. The Dodgers rode to a 12- 3 victory and now will face the Atlanta Braves in the National League Championship Series.
Tuesday night will mark the beginning of the National League Division Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres. This series will mark the first time the two National League West teams have met each other in the playoffs. They could possibly play five straight days if the series goes the full distance. If that occurred, they would play every day from Tuesday until Saturday.
The Dodgers swept the Brewers 2-0 in a best two-out-of-three Wild Card series. Manager Dave Roberts and his ballclub moved onto the Division Series with relative ease. There wasn’t really wasn’t any point where the Dodgers didn’t look in control. The bullpen pitched a scoreless six innings in the first game and got nice help from Clayton Kershaw in the second game. Kershaw looked like every bit of his three-time Cy Young award-winning self, pitching a scoreless eight innings alongside an insane 13 strikeouts.
Here we are yet again—the Dodgers find themselves in the playoffs for the eighth straight time. Fans obviously at this point are not content with making it to the postseason, as most eyes are on a World Championship. The new Wild Card rule will make things more difficult and definitely will tense up the nerves.
Here we are entering the final regular-season series of the year against the Angels. The Dodgers have clinched “home field advantage” throughout the National League playoffs. This season, home field doesn’t directly come to play, but the fact that the Dodgers have a better road record should bode well for the team looking ahead, regardless.
After the Dodgers lead dwindled down to 1.5 games at the beginning of the week, it is now back up to a full four games. The magic number for an eighth consecutive National League West Division title is down to five with only nine games to play. On Wednesday, the Dodgers became the first team to clinch a playoff berth. The season has breezed by as we all expected a 60-game season to be. As we enter the final week of the season, it would have been exciting to watch this Dodger team over a full 162-game season. But, at least the front office secured Mookie Betts for the next dozen years, which I’d believe 99 percent of Dodger fans would be content with.
To the shock of many Dodger fans, Ross Stripling, a fan favorite, was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays at the August 31st deadline. The deal wasn’t announced until nearly an hour after the deadline. In return, the Dodgers received the 11th ranked prospect in the Blue Jays farm system, right-handed pitcher Kendall Williams. Getting Williams is a nice return, but he can’t help the current ballclub, who is in win-now mode, especially as the postseason approaches. While Stripling was struggling at times, he could have provided support down the stretch in case of an emergency.
With only a couple weeks left in the season, the playoff push is coming down to the stretch. The Dodgers are in a great position with a 30-12 record and dibs on the top National League seed, despite dropping their first series this past weekend against the Colorado Rockies with former Dodger Matt Kemp hitting a game-winning homer.
Clayton Kershaw continues on his dominant run this season, as the future Hall of Famer became the third-youngest to 2,500 strikeouts. He also passed Christy Mathewson for 38th on the MLB’s all-time strikeout list. Kershaw didn’t allow a hit until the 6th inning on an infield single, striking out eight batters while bringing his ERA down to 1.50, which is second-best in the National League after Yu Darvish.