The Dodgers inched closer to their first National League West title in four years with a win on Thursday night over the rival Giants. No matter how many MVP-caliber players are fighting their hamstrings — Matt Kemp is working his way back in Arizona, while Hanley Ramirez was removed Thursday night with tightness — the Dodgers are going to clinch the division soon.
With a 12½-game lead over the Diamondbacks with 16 games to play, the time is nearly at hand.
The earliest the Dodgers could possibly clinch is Sunday, but to celebrate in front of the home crowd at Dodger Stadium the Dodgers need five of six outcomes to go their way. Arizona hosts the Rockies over the weekend in Phoenix.
But whether or not the Dodgers clinch at home, they are primed for one of the earliest celebrations since moving to Los Angeles in 1958. In 1977 the Dodgers clinched the division with a win over the Giants in San Francisco on Sept. 20, in the 151st game of the season. It was the earliest clinching date by a Los Angeles Dodgers team and, with 11 games remaining in the season the earliest point in the season, too.
Tuesday in Arizona is the Dodgers' 151st game of the season. On Sept. 20, the Dodgers will be in San Diego to open a three-game series against the Padres.
The last time the Dodgers clinched before the 1977 team was in Brooklyn in 1955, when they beat the Braves on Sept. 8 for a 17-game lead with 16 games remaining.
- In 1959 the Dodgers were tied with the Braves at the end of the 154-game season but won the first two games of the best-of-three playoff for the NL pennant.
- The 1995 club clinched the NL West in San Diego in the 143rd game of the season, but that year featured a strike-shortened 144-game season.
- Technically in 1981 there was no clinching date as the players strike cut the season into halves. The Dodgers won the first half to qualify for baseball's first division series.
- The 1996 and 2006 squads reflect clinching a playoff spot, as the team secured a wild card position before losing the division, in both cases, to the Padres.
- The L.A. Dodgers clinched with a loss from their closest pursuer (rather than a Dodgers win) in 2008, 1996, 1985, 1983, 1974 and 1963.