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History of recent Dodger NL West clinches

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Wondering how long Dodgers took to clinch when they were so close

MLB: OCT 03 NLDS Workout Day - Braves at Dodgers

The Dodgers will begin their game today with the opportunity to clinch the National League West division. Any Dodger win or Diamondback loss will give the Dodgers their seventh straight division title.

This could be the earliest in terms of date and games played that the Los Angeles Dodgers have ever clinched a postseason berth and certainly a division.

Here’s a breakdown of how many games it took the Dodgers to clinch the NL West once the Magic Number was two since that would mean the Dodgers could clinch that day if they won and the second place team lost.

  • In 2013, the Dodgers were playing second-place Diamondbacks when the Magic Number was two, the Dodgers lost their first chance before clinching the division on September 19, 2013 in Game 153.
  • In 2014, the Dodgers began a series against the second-place Giants needing two wins to clinch the division. They lost the first game but then they won the second game. In Game 159, the Dodgers beat the Giants on September 24th to clinch their second straight game.
  • After the games played on Friday September 25, 2015, the Dodgers Magic Number was two over the Giants. The Dodgers would then lose two more games to the Rockies while the Giants won their games. Then the Dodgers went to San Francisco for a series. The Dodgers would lose the first game before Clayton Kershaw won the clincher. That was Game 157 on September 29th.
  • Who can forget the clinching game on the last home game Vin Scully called back in 2016. Two days before, the Dodgers Magic Number was two against the second place Giants. Then on Sunday September 25, the Dodgers won Game 156 on Charlie Culberson’s walk-off homer.
  • In 2017, the Dodgers had ideas of clinching their division at the earliest time ever in their history. Their Magic Number was 14 when play began August 26th. Then the Dodgers would lose 16 of the next 17 games. So it wasn’t until play began on September 20th where the Dodgers Magic Number was two. It took the Dodgers three more games before on September 23rd, the Dodgers clinched the NL West against the Giants in Game 154.
  • Finally, last season, on the first day of October, the Dodgers needed to play 163 games to win the NL West in a one-game playoff over the Rockies. The Dodgers had only lowered their Magic Number to two after they had played 161 games.

Here’s a video reminder via Blake Harris showing those final plays that clinched those six straight NL West Division titles.

Here’s a look at the dates and games played when the Dodgers have clinched their division since 1974.

Dodger NL West Clinching Facts - 1974 - 2018

Date Game No. Final Record
Date Game No. Final Record
10/1/1974 161 102-60
9/20/1977 151 98-64
9/24/1978 156 95-67
9/30/1983 160 91-71
10/2/1985 158 95-67
9/26/1988 156 94-67
10/1/1995 144 78-66
10/2/2004 161 93-69
9/25/2008 159 84-78
10/3/2009 161 95-67
9/19/2013 153 92-70
9/24/2014 159 94-68
9/29/2015 157 92-70
9/25/2016 156 91-71
9/23/2017 154 104-58
10/1/2018 163 92-71

The earliest date the Dodgers have clinched is September 19, 2013. The latest date was October 3, 2009. The lowest number of games played is 151 back in 1977, the highest was last season when they needed to play 163 games to decide the division.

Finally, the most wins it took to clinch the NL West was in 1974 when the Dodgers needed 101 wins to finally win the division. The lowest number of wins in a full season was 83 in 2008.

Note that 1995 Dodgers played a 144-game shortened season due to coming back from the 1994 strike and the Dodgers clinched on the last day when they won 78th game.

In the prior six seasons and going back to 2009, the Dodgers have clinched their division with a win with the 2016 clinch coming just before the Giants loss that also would have clinched the division.

In 2008, the Diamondbacks lost prior to the start of the Dodger game so they had the rare instance of celebrating winning the division after losing a game.