Friday, September 17, 2021

The Dodgers made it to the playoffs with a win over the Diamondbacks

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LOS ANGELES – The Dodgers beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 8-4 on Tuesday night before their magic numbers lacked the usual magic to secure a playoff berth.

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It’s zero, for the record. The Dodgers’ victory, combined with the San Diego Padres’ loss at the hands of the San Francisco Giants, ensured that they would reach the playoffs for their ninth consecutive season. When asked if this year’s team reminds him of any predecessors, third baseman Justin Turner declined.

“We’re on our way now,” Turner said, “and playing really good baseball.”

The Dodgers (93-53) are on pace to 103 wins. Yet so far they are heading straight for wild card berths – a special path indeed. Only twice in franchise history, and not since 2006, have the Dodgers entered the post season as a wild-card team.

With the best record in baseball, the Giants (95–50) have a chance to halt the Dodgers’ streak of consecutive National League West titles at eight. They lead the division by 2½ games with 17 regular-season games remaining; The Dodgers have 16 games left.

Turner may have been caught off-guard before Tuesday’s game when asked about the Dodgers’ plan to celebrate if they win.

“Although you don’t want to take those things lightly,” he said, “I don’t know whether we’ll celebrate it or not.”

The team resolved to enjoy a modest celebration, including a champagne toast, after the victory. Turner said he shared a few words with his teammates. So did manager Dave Roberts. His words were specifically aimed at players who weren’t around for the Dodgers’ entire decade of division dominance.

“Enjoy the moment,” Turner said. “At the same time, know that we still have a lot of work ahead of us.”

The Dodgers have never been far behind on Tuesday. Max Muncie, Will Smith and Tree Turner each hit home runs. Munsi has 33 home runs, ranking third in the National League. He and Tree Turner each scored 2 for 3 with two RBIs.

The Dodgers are a perfect 5-0 on this homestand, which ends with a rematch against Arizona on Wednesday night. The Dodgers have won 13 of 15 one-on-one meetings against the basement-dwelling Diamondbacks (47–98).

Dodgers starter Tony Gonsolin (3-1) did not allow a hit until Ketel Marte led the fourth inning with a single. The right-handed batsman allowed two hits and two walks while hitting a six. He needed 67 pitches to complete five innings and threw only three pitches on a three-ball count.

“I felt like I was really effective at getting a strike,” Gonsolin said. “That gave me the advantage of counting a little, working my way up the count. I was definitely more efficient today.”

It was Gonsolin’s second start since his return from the injured list. He missed the entire August with a recurrence of swelling of the right shoulder. In retrospect, Gonsolin said, overthrowing his fastball may have contributed to injuries that have limited him to 11 starts this season.

“It could have been some of them, wanting to be more Velo with me,” he said. “Now it seems to be liberating more, and I’m not as concerned with velocity.”

Ironically, by not attempting to coax more speed from his fastball, Gonsolin’s fastball averaged 94.8 mph—the fastest pitch he threw in the individual start since the start of his regular season on June 8. All four of his pitches were in the works on Tuesday, Gonsolin said.

Marte drew the Diamondbacks within 6–4 when he hit a three-run home run against reliever Justin Bruehl in the seventh inning.

The Dodgers made it to the playoffs with a win over the Diamondbacks
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