With a 7-2 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday, the Dodgers not only wrapped up their eighth consecutive National League West title, but Los Angeles also claimed the top seed in the NL playoffs that begin next week.
The A’s also have something to chase if they were so inclined. Oakland has already wrapped up the American League West, but they are two games behind the Tampa Bay Rays for the top seed in the AL with five games remaining.
Oakland also dropped to the No. 3 seed with Tuesday’s defeat, falling a half-game behind the Chicago White Sox in the race for the No. 2 seed.
In a battle of left-handers Wednesday, the A’s will send Sean Manaea (4-3, 4.50 ERA) to the mound to square off against the Dodgers’ Julio Urias (3-0, 3.49), who has made 10 starts this season and has allowed two runs or fewer in three of his four September starts.
Manaea is 0-2 lifetime against the Dodgers with a 5.87 ERA, with both of those outings coming in 2018. His 2018 no-hitter against the Boston Red Sox came two starts after he gave up two runs on seven hits in five innings of a start at Dodger Stadium.
Now he has a division title on his resume and will take that knowledge into his start at Los Angeles.
“This isn’t an easy feat,” Manaea said about being champions of the AL West. “To do it how we’ve done it, always grinding it out with steady improvements over time, it’s been amazing to watch. I’m happy to be a part of this ballclub.”
With the Dodgers clinching a division title and the No. 1 playoff seed, Manaea could be facing more of a watered-down lineup, although the Dodgers’ depth means he will still be up against a formidable foe.
The Dodgers’ clincher Tuesday came in their signature style with four home runs, including one from Corey Seager, who had three hits. It was his team-leading 21st multi-hit game of the season.
“You can’t assume it every year,” the mild-mannered Seager said after Tuesday’s victory. “We’ve been on a pretty special run.”
Max Muncy, Chris Taylor and AJ Pollock also hit home runs Tuesday and when the game was done, the team had a more subdued celebration on the field after the final out, knowing they have been at this level plenty of times. Being a winner in their final playoff game is what they are after now.
“Truth be told, there were some guys who didn’t know we had a chance to clinch tonight,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said, while reaffirming that his club is in championship-or-bust mode.
Urias will be making his first-ever appearance against the A’s.
The primary order of business for the Dodgers is to get third baseman Justin Turner as healthy as possible before the playoffs begin next Wednesday. He has been working his way through hamstring issues and missed Tuesday’s game with what was considered hamstring “discomfort.”
Turner has already been on the injured list once because of the injury and hasn’t played on defense since Aug. 28.
–Field Level Media