Sunday, September 17, 2023

DODGERS CLINCH 2023 NL WEST TITLE (Post-Game Thread 147)

"In a year that has experienced so much change, one thing is the same: The NL West STILL runs through LA!"


The Dodgers battled through nine scoreless scoreless innings, including a particularly nail-biting bottom of the eighth inning (two on, none out: Alex Vesia gets JP Crawford swinging, and then Boston castoff Ryan Brasier gets Mariner phenom Julio Rodriguez swinging, before striking out Teoscar Hernandez to quell the threat). Clayton Kershaw delivered four scoreless innings, and Emmet Sheehan gave three more. And after trading runs in the tenth, the Dodgers erupted in the eleventh inning with five runs, stoked by Max Muncy, Chris Taylor, and Kike Hernandez RBI singles. The ghosts of our 2020 WS team drove us to victory, including Joe Kelly messily but effectively cleaning up the bottom of the 11th.

More important than all that, the Dodgers clinched the NL West divisional title, and celebrated at T-Mobile Park in Seattle:

Loved these quotes from Jack Harris' LAT piece (only available online, given the LAT's stupid only-print-features-in-the-new-diminished-sports-page plan):

“I think everybody talked about what we didn’t do [in the offseason], but we still had Mookie, we still had Freddie, it’s not like we were underdogs by any means,” said Clayton Kershaw, who pitched four scoreless innings in what became his fifth career start in a division-clinching game.

“It wasn’t like a ‘silence the doubters’ kind of moment,” Kershaw added, standing shirtless and beer-soaked in a plastic-wrapped postgame clubhouse. “We were expecting to do this. We were supposed to do this. But it doesn’t make it any less special.”

Technically, Arizona could still also claim a share of the divisional crown, if they win their next 12 games and the Dodgers lose their next 15 (not exactly sure why the gap in games played is so huge). But at this stage, the Dodgers are basically set with the #2 seed in the NL, and the Diamondbacks (who won an extra-inning thriller against the Cubs) are tied for the third Wild Card spot (with the Reds), behind the Cubs and the Phillies, and with the Marlins (0.5 GB) and Giants (2.5 GB) also in the mix.

Time for us to rest up the few guys we have left.