The Dodgers' 8-4 victory over the Pirates tonight has clinched a playoff berth for the Dodgers, their second straight postseason trip and third in four seasons. Now that the Braves can no longer catch the Dodgers, the worst possible scenario for the Dodgers is winning the wild card.
More importantly, this officially moves the Dodgers' magic number to clinch the National League West to
two one, because the Dodgers hold the tiebreaker over the Rockies by virtue of winning the season series with the Rockies, winning 12 of 15 games so far this season. The Dodgers can clinch the division as soon as tomorrow.
This is the first time the Dodgers have made the postseason in three out of four seasons since the 1963-1965-1966 run, which of course were all World Series appearances. The Dodgers also made the World Series in four of five seasons in 1952-1953-1955-1956.
The Dodgers last made the playoffs in successive seasons in 1995 & 1996. The last time they won the division in two straight years was 1977 & 1978, when they won two straight National League pennants.
This is Joe Torre's 14th straight playoff appearance, tying him with Bobby Cox for the major league record.
The Dodgers currently have the best record in the National League, with a 3-game lead over the Cardinals, and a 3½-game lead over the Phillies.
|2009 Dodgers Checklist|
|Make The Playoffs|
|Win National League West|
|Best Record in the NL|
|Win NL Pennant|
|Win World Series|
As far as the game itself, the Dodgers opened the scoring early. Rafael Furcal singled to start the game, but was thrown at second base trying to stretch it into a double. Juan Pierre followed with a triple, which was followed by a Manny Ramirez ground-rule double for an early 1-0 lead. The Dodgers added a pair of runs in the fourth inning, highlighted by a double by Mark Loretta, making only his second start since August 29.
A home run by Old Friend Andy LaRoche in the bottom of the fourth cut the Dodger lead to 4-1, a lead Randy Wolf took into the seventh inning. Three walks, two singles, and two pitchers later, the Pirates rallied for three runs to take the lead.
The Dodgers responded with a rally of their own in the top of the eighth, taking the lead on a pair of bases-loaded walks. Jim Thome followed with his biggest moment as a Dodger to date, with a two-run single to widen the lead to 7-4. Ronnie Belliard added his fifth home run as a Dodger in the ninth inning to provide the final margin.
George Sherrill picked up the win for the Dodgers, his first win since joining the team. That brings the total number of Dodgers to get a win this season to 22, a club record. In MLB history, only the Padres (23 in 2002, 24 in 2009) have had more pitchers get a win in one season.
Randy Wolf got yet another no-decision, his 16th of the season, tying Roy Oswalt for the MLB lead. Since moving to Los Angeles in 1958, the only other Dodger pitcher with more no-decisions than Wolf was Odalis Perez, with 18 in 2004.
Clayton Kershaw takes the hill tomorrow morning against Daniel McCutchen, as the Dodgers try to clinch their second straight National League West division title.
WP - George Sherrill (1-1): 0.1 inning, 1 hit, 1 walk
LP - Denny Bautista (1-1): 0.1 IP, 1 hit, 2 runs, 1 walk, 1 strikeout