The Dodgers open a three-game series in Denver against a Rockies team they could very well be playing again for a second straight weekend, in what has been a banner year for the National League West.
Colorado has a magic number of two (over the Brewers) to clinch the second NL wild card spot, which if they get it will give the National League West three teams in the postseason for the first time (four teams, if we’re counting the divisional old friend Astros, but that’s a different story).
We are still in the relative infancy of the wild card game, so this sounds nearly as silly as saying “the Statcast era” when we really mean “since 2015,” but getting three teams in the playoffs is still quite an accomplishment.
Since a second wild card team was added and a wild card game created in 2012, a division has placed three teams in the postseason three out of 10 possible times:
- 2013 NL Central (Cardinals, Pirates, Reds)
- 2015 NL Central (Cardinals, Pirates, Cubs)
- 2016 AL East (Red Sox, Blue Jays, Orioles)
The Dodgers (102-57) own the best record in baseball, and the Diamondbacks (92-67) have already clinched first wild card position. The Rockies (86-73) could join them in the postseason, which would complete a wire-to-wire season of sorts for Colorado, who has been in playoff position — either leading the division, or in one of the two wild card spots — after every day of this season.
In the first 22 years of the wild card era, the NL West placed two teams in the postseason eight times — 1995, 1996, 2002, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2014 and 2016. Six of those times included the Dodgers, and three included the Rockies.
This is the Dodgers’ first visit to Denver in over four months. After playing each other in nine of their first 39 games, the Rockies and Dodgers have played just two series since. Both were in Los Angeles, and both ended in sweeps.
From June 24-26 the Dodgers took three straight against the Rockies, culminating in a Sunday comeback win that saw LA score five straight runs on wild pitches. That was on one extreme end of the spectrum, then when the Dodgers couldn’t get out of their own way, the Rockies won all four games at Dodger Stadium from Sept. 7-10, outscoring the Dodgers 26-11 in the four-game sweep.
The 102-win Dodgers are under .500 against only two teams this season, the two teams they are likeliest to meet in the NLDS. LA is 8-11 against Arizona, and 7-9 against the Rockies.
Time: 5:10 p.m. PT
TV: SportsNet LA