Dodgers clinch another trip to the post-season

PHOENIX – The faces sweep through a revolving but leave a path of destruction, obliteration and history. Despite a changing of the guard nearly every season, the result, for opponents, remains as devastating as significant.

With a 6-0 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks in Chase Field before 19,393 Monday night, the Los Angeles Dodgers steamrolled to their 10th consecutive post-season appearance. While manager Dave Roberts guided winners over the past seven seasons, this version appears different. Sure, production has come from different players and Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman, alone, seemed to have carried this team. Yet, Roberts identified a key force in what differentiates this team from other winners he managed.

“We’ve been fortunate with good teams but offensively, it’s probably the best team we have had,” Roberts said on Monday. “We are able to beat you in many different ways. The pitching has been a challenge as far as guys who have been healthy and guys who have not been here very long. Give these guys credit, they have not waivered and stayed focused all year long.”

After an error by Major League Baseball on Sunday, which did not calculate a possible tie with San Diego as a division winner, allowed the evitableto be delayed by one day. Should the Dodgers win on Tuesday night, they clinch home field advantage throughout their 2022 playoff run.

With the victory Monday, the Dodgers captured their 97th win of the season and moved 37 games over the .500 mark. Reaching the post-season for the 10th consecutive time, that represents the third-longest streak in the modern game. Only the 1991-2005 Braves and 1995-2007 Dodgers achieved longer streaks.

The Dodgers are now the first team to clinch a post-season slot and with that victory over Arizona, L. A. has won 34 of the last 41 games between the teams.

From an opponent’s perspective, the Dodgers seem to do all the right things at the right time. Plus, they are great opportunists and are quick to have opponents pay for any mistake at any time.

“They take advantage of mistakes and take advantage of those opportunities,” said Arizona catcher Carson Kelly. “If a team makes a little bit of error, they pounce on that. They take advantage of those and rally together. They are a really good team and (Monday night), they strung hits together. The rest is history.”

The method of which the Dodgers won on Monday supports Roberts’ foundation of success. A combination of strong starting pitcher from lefty Tyler Anderson, a clutch, two-run double in the seventh by Cody Bellinger and a defense that executed three double plays supported Roberts’ theory of defeating opponents from several angles.

“This is a great team, and you have to give them credit,” said Arizona first baseman Christian Walker. “I don’t like giving guys credit but give that team credit. They do a lot of things right and have many good players.”

When Roberts cited production and offensive efficiency, let numbers carry this scenario. With the win Monday night, the Dodgers hold a 316 plus run differential and that is the greatest in franchise history, The closest is the 1889 Brooklyn Bridegrooms, which finished with a 290 plus run differential. Plus, the Dodgers are 52-15 since the All-Star game.

On Tuesday night, the Dodgers can improve on an already frightening season. That’s when lefty Clayton Kershaw takes the mound and draws Arizona righty Merrill Kelly as his mound opponent. Kershaw enters this start with a 7-3 record, a 2.62 ERA and an 18-11 lifetime record against the Diamondbacks. In that span, he has 39 career starts and holds a 2.81 ERA with 261 strikeouts in 237.1 innings.

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