At 30-11 with a healthy divisional lead, the Dodgers won’t face an actual challenge until the postseason begins. But that’s not to say the final 19 games are meaningless. There are little things, like keeping everybody sharp and healthy heading into October.
And trying to keep their streak of unbeaten series alive.
The Dodgers have played 13 series this season, winning 10 and splitting three. It’s one shy of the club record for consecutive series without a loss to open a season, set in 1977.
With the expanded playoff format and no real home field advantage, no matter where the postseason is actually played, the fear heading into the playoffs is that a lesser team could get hot and win two of three games against any team, even a team playing as well as the Dodgers.
So far it hasn’t happened yet this regular season for the Dodgers, though the Padres did win the first two games of a four-game series at Dodger Stadium from August 10-13. That’s all it would take for a wild card round knockout.
Which brings us to Sunday, with the Dodgers and Rockies having each won a game in the series. That sets up a rubber game tonight, with the rare 7 p.m. Sunday night start.
It’s the fifth rubber game of the season for the Dodgers, who won the final game to decide these series in interesting fashion:
- August 5: A one five-run lead was whittled to one in the ninth, and with a runner on third base and one out, a medium-depth liner to left looked deep enough to score the tying run. But Chris Taylor had other ideas, throwing out the tying run at the plate to secure the series win.
- August 9: After getting mostly throttled for six innings, the Dodgers offense woke up late, getting three-run homers from A.J. Pollock and Mookie Betts to beat the Giants.
- August 27: After losing the series opener with three blown saves in the same game, the Dodgers swept a doubleheader Thursday to take the series. Both games were shutouts, including 2-0 in the rubber game, with seven different Dodgers relievers chipping in in the bullpen game.
- August 30: Texas got to the Dodgers bullpen in the series opener, but the Dodgers won going away in the final two games, including 7-2 in the finale last Sunday.
Julio Urías gets the call for the Dodgers on Sunday night, making the club’s first start on four days rest this season. Ryan Castellani starts for the Rockies. It’s a week after his last start, but he also mixed in a two-inning, 26-pitch relief outing on Wednesday.
Time: 7:10 p.m. PT
TV: SportsNet LA, MLB Network (out of market)