Dodgers proud to reach 100 wins but overtaking Giants remains priority
Over the final week, they’ll need at least several more to catch the San Francisco Giants.
The Dodgers (100-56) remained two games behind the Giants, who beat the Colorado Rockies on Sunday, in the National League West standings with six games to play. It could take nearperfection down the stretch for them to win a ninth straight division title.
But after a disappointing loss Saturday night, the Dodgers did exactly what they needed to Sunday afternoon, dispatching the Diamondbacks (50-106) with ease to clinch the franchise’s ninth 100-win season and become just the sixth defending World Series champion in the divisional era (since 1969) to amass a triple-digit win total.
Cody Bellinger has struggled at the plate all season, and the former NL MVP is hoping to return from injury and make an impact for the Dodgers.
“It’s something to be proud of,” manager Dave Roberts said. “But we still have to win six more ballgames.”
The Dodgers led from the outset after Corey Seager and Trea Turner hit back-to-back home runs in the top of the first. For Turner, it was his 100th career blast. Seager reached 100 career home runs in the third inning to make it 3-0.
“That’s something you don’t really think about until it happens,” Seager said of his milestone. “Once it did, it takes you back a little bit and you get really excited.”
Julio Urías cruised from there, tossing five shutout innings to lower his ERA to 3.01, pick up his MLB-best 19th win of the season and keep a 20-win campaign within reach.
“That would be incredible,” Urías said through an interpreter on the possibility of winning 20 games. “To be a starter full time for the first season and be able to contribute with wins, I think that’s very important.”
While Urías’ pitch velocities remained a tick below season norms — his fastball averaged 93.1 mph compared to his seasonlong average of 94.1 — they rebounded slightly from where they were in his previous two outings.
And even without his hardest stuff, the left-hander gave up only five hits and one walk in his 85-pitch outing. Of his three strikeouts, none was bigger than the fastball he blew past David Peralta to escape a bases-loaded jam in the third inning.
“We had a defensive miscue [earlier in the inning],” Roberts said, “and he bowed his shoulders.”
Even the Dodgers’ lone concern was eased by the end of the day. Outfielder AJ Pollock was hit in the right hand by a pitch and later was removed from the game in a double switch, but Roberts said afterward that Pollock escaped any serious injury and should be back in the lineup on Tuesday.
“I think it grazed him,” Roberts said, adding: “We dodged a bullet right there.”
Highlights from the Dodgers’ 3-0 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday.
Kenley Jansen finished off the Dodgers’ 17th shutout of the season with his 36th save in the ninth, sealing the series win in Arizona and sending the team into an all-important final week.
After a day off Monday, the Dodgers will host the slumping San Diego Padres for a three-game series beginning Tuesday, then finish the regular season with a three-game home set against the Milwaukee Brewers, who clinched the NL Central title on Sunday.
The Giants will also be at home beginning Tuesday for three games against the Diamondbacks, then three more at home against the Padres.
Roberts said the Dodgers will keep their current starting rotation intact, including one more outing for Tony Gonsolin this week. That would keep Max Scherzer lined up to pitch a potential Game 163 if the Giants and Dodgers tie, or in the wild-card game if the Dodgers don’t catch their Bay Area rivals.
As they return for their final regular-season homestand, they are hoping the latter scenario doesn’t become true.
Clayton Kershaw struggles and the offense can’t keep up with the Arizona Diamondbacks in a 7-2 loss that puts the Dodgers two games behind of the Giants.
The Dodgers got back on track Sunday. Now, with 100 wins again under their belt, they have six more games to try to close the NL West gap.
“A lot to be said for the organization,” Roberts said, reflecting on the milestone — the third time the club has won 100 games in the last five years — while also staying focused on the work left to be done. “You’re proud of it. You take a moment to enjoy it, relish it. And then, we in the baseball world, we have a way of just moving on.”
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