Dodgers clinch NL West for ninth time in 10 seasons in win over Diamondbacks
PHOENIX — Last year, they chased the San Francisco Giants in vain until the final day, falling a game short of a division title and victim to an arduous postseason path as a lower-seeded wild card team.
It haunted them all winter. It was one of their main motivators this spring. And all regular season, it had been the goal most front-of-mind for the team with baseball’s best record.
The Dodgers wanted to reclaim the NL West. Badly.
On Tuesday night, with more than three weeks remaining in the regular season, they officially did.
With a 4-0 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field, the Dodgers clinched the division title in dominant fashion, locking up the NL West with 21 games to go.
Final: Dodgers clinch NL West with 4-0 win over Diamondbacks
PHOENIX — For the first time since 2020, and the ninth time in the last 10 years, the Dodgers are champions of the National League West.
They clinched the division with a 4-0 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday, marking the earliest in the schedule (in Game No. 141) they’d ever locked up a division crown.
Clayton Kershaw pitched seven shutout innings. Joey Gallo, Freddie Freeman and Max Muncy all hit home runs.
The Dodgers are now 98-43.
Final: Dodgers 4, Dbacks 0
Clayton Kershaw through seven scoreless innings as Dodgers lead grows on Max Muncy’s home run
After throwing 82 pitches in seven scoreless innings, Clayton Kershaw’s night is done.
If the Dodgers hold on, it could mark the left-hander’s latest memorable performance in a division-clinching game.
Three times previously in his career, Kershaw has been on the mound on nights the Dodgers clinched the NL West. His performances in those games:
2009: Six scoreless innings against the Colorado Rockies.
2014: One run over eight innings against the San Francisco Giants.
2015: A complete-game shutout against the Giants.
The Dodgers lineup, meanwhile, added to their lead thanks to Max Muncy’s solo home run in the top of the seventh.
Muncy’s blast was his 20th of the season, making him the fifth Dodger to reach that plateau. Only the Toronto Blue Jays have as many.
End 7th: Dodgers lead 4-0
Freddie Freeman homers one over the Chase Field pool
Dave Roberts said pregame he didn’t want his players going into the Chase Field pool tonight.
Freddie Freeman listened.
In the third inning, the Dodgers slugger hit his 20th home run of the season over the pool in right center field, extending the Dodgers early lead to 3-0.
Freeman, who was the NL’s Player of the Week last week, is now 16 for his last 35 at the plate with four home runs and 10 RBIs. His .330 batting average on the season is the best in the majors.
Clayton Kershaw, meanwhile, is through three scoreless innings on 43 pitches. He has given up only one hit.
End 3rd: Dodgers lead 3-0
Dodgers strike first on Joey Gallo home run
On the night the Dodgers are trying to clinch the division, their newest member put them on the board first.
In the top of the second, Joey Gallo clobbered a two-run home run to center field, his fifth home run with the Dodgers since being acquired at the trade deadline.
The ball traveled 438 feet, the longest of Gallo’s 17 total home runs this season.
Mid 2nd: Dodgers lead 2-0
Dodgers going for NL West title with Clayton Kershaw on the mound
PHOENIX — With a win on Tuesday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Dodgers will clinch the NL West for the ninth time in the last 10 seasons.
And they’ll have Clayton Kershaw on the mound when they try to do it.
If the Dodgers clinch tonight — they could also do so if the San Diego Padres lose to the Seattle Mariners — it would mark the fastest they’ve clinched a division in a full-length season in franchise history.
One thing not to expect Tuesday: A Dodgers celebration in the Diamondbacks pool, as they did when they clinched the division at Chase Field in 2013.
“I think that’s in the past,” manager Dave Roberts said. “I just don’t think that’s who this team is. I don’t really expect us or see us jumping in a pool in right-center field.”
Here is the Dodgers lineup for Tuesday, when Kershaw (7-3, 2.62 ERA) will square off against Diamondbacks right-hander Merrill Kelly (12-5, 2.94 ERA):
The Dodgers bullpen got a boost Tuesday, as Tommy Kahnle was activated from the injured list following a four-month absence with right forearm inflammation. Roberts said he expects the right-hander to be part of the team’s postseason pitching staff.
“I think the timing is good in the sense of, he hasn’t pitched very much for us this year,” Roberts said. “So having a few weeks with him on our roster to get him kind of re-acclimated is a good thing.”
Heath Hembree was designated for assignment to make room.
Gonsolin to throw bullpen
The Dodgers should get a better sense of injured right-hander Tony Gonsolin’s status after he throws a bullpen session on Wednesday.
“It’s important considering where we’re at on the calendar,” Roberts said of Gonsolin’s upcoming bullpen. “He’s as frustrated as anyone. He’s done so much for us this year up to this point, so to even envision him not being a part of it is sort of frustrating for him. But I’m hopeful that tomorrow will go well and we can keep moving forward.”
Gonsolin has been out for more than two weeks now with a forearm strain. Without him, the Dodgers are planning to slot Michael Grove into the rotation for Wednesday’s finale against the Dbacks.
Gavin Lux (neck) will face live pitching on Wednesday at Chase Field instead of Camelback Ranch as originally planned. One of the pitchers he is scheduled to face is Yency Almonte (elbow) ... Blake Treinen (shoulder) is continuing to feel better everyday, Roberts said, and is expected to be ready to come off the IL when eligible on Sept. 22.
Dodgers officially clinch playoff berth with win over Diamondbacks, for real
PHOENIX — The Dodgers clinched a playoff berth Monday night.
For real, this time.
A day after the team believed it had locked up a postseason spot, Major League Baseball had to backtrack Monday morning, determining that there remained far-fetched yet technically possible three-way and four-way tiebreaker scenarios in which the Dodgers could miss the playoffs — if they lost all 23 remaining games on their schedule.
“I’m pretty confident we’re not going to lose the rest of the way, 23 in a row,” manager Dave Roberts said before Monday’s game.
He was right.
With a 6-0 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Dodgers officially secured their October ticket while lowering their magic number to win the National League West crown to one, setting up an opportunity for them to clinch the division title with a win (or San Diego Padres loss) Tuesday night.
How to watch and stream the Dodgers this season
Here’s a look at the Dodgers broadcast and streaming schedule for the remainder of the 2022 regular season: