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Dodgers Week 27: Second to one

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An undefeated, but costly, final week of the season

Los Angeles Dodgers defeated Milwaukee Brewers 10-3 during a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Photo by Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images

The final week of the Dodgers’ regular season featured a whirlwind of emotions. The wins and the runs were plentiful, but a regular season goal was not met, and the team suffered gut-punch, potentially devastating injuries to Clayton Kershaw and Max Muncy.

But despite falling just short, the Dodgers fought until the very end, which is to be expected from a franchise that has made excellence its brand.

The Dodgers won 106 games, more than any other second-place team in major league history, and their streak of consecutive National League West titles is over at eight. To get to a highly-anticipated postseason matchup with the 107-win Giants, the Dodgers will have to win one extra game, on Wednesday at home against the Cardinals.

“I think the past week to 10 days is probably the best our offense has played,” said pitcher Walker Buehler. “We’ve had a lot of fun playing baseball this past week. You always want to feel good about yourself walking into the playoffs, and I think we kind of check those boxes.”

The team had every reason to feel good, consistently exploding on offense for their best stretch of the season. They scored at least eight runs in each of the last five games of the season, tied for the longest stretch in franchise history. It’s the kind of production one dreams about when looking at a lineup with at least seven excellent hitters, and potentially eight well-above-average bats, on any given night.

One of those bats might be missing for while, as the Dodgers await tests on Max Muncy’s left elbow, injured while trying to field a throw at first base on Sunday, in a collision with Jace Peterson. Muncy isn’t expected to play in the wild card game and could be out much longer.

“Where we’re at right now, [the division series] is unlikely, but I just don’t want to count Max out,” manager Dave Roberts said. “We don’t want to close the door on a potential, down the road postseason appearance.”

Muncy writhing in pain on the field came two days after Clayton Kershaw walked off the field in shock, still clutching the baseball while coming to grips with a season that is almost certainly over. Kershaw missed over two months with left forearm and elbow soreness, then did everything in his power to return for the postseason, until he simply couldn’t pitch anymore.

“I just wanted to be a part of this team going into October. This team is special. I know we’re going to do something special this year, and I wanted to be a part of that. Chances are it’s not looking great for October,” Kershaw said. “It’s going to be a challenge to even contribute at all.”

If the Dodgers have shown anything in the last half-decade plus, it’s the ability to adapt to whatever comes their way. They likely won’t have Kershaw in October, and they might not have Muncy, at least for a little while. But there’s still a championship-caliber team playing at a high level heading into October.

Now they just have to carry it over into the playoffs.

Batter of the week

The offense was so good that in most weeks, several performances from this week would have been more than enough. But this goes to Corey Seager, who hit .500 with seven extra-base hits.

With two doubles and a home run on Wednesday, then two home runs and a double on Thursday against the Padres, Seager became the second player with consecutive three-extra-base-hit games at Dodger Stadium, joining Dodgers nemesis Kole Calhoun (July 23-24, 2019).

Trea Turner had a sublime week of his own with four home runs, including two grand slams, and he wrapped up a batting title, among other things.

“He’s just a special player, and a game-changing player,” Buehler said of Turner. “I think Trea Turner needs to be on the minds of some people. Maybe he’s not being spoken about enough [in MVP voting].”

Pitcher of the week

Walker Buehler recovered from his only real rough stretch of an excellent season by winning both starts in the final week. He pitched seven scoreless innings on Tuesday to beat the Padres, then struck out 11 in five innings, allowing one run to Milwaukee on Sunday.

“We worked on some mechanical things, what you’re trying to do with your pitches and all that stuff,” Buehler explained. “I think unlocking some of that stuff and feeling better about the way I’m throwing the ball kind of unleashes a different thing mentally where you feel a little more confident, you feel a little bit more athletic, and you feel a little bit bigger out there.”

Week 27 results

6-0 record
47 runs scored (7.83 per game)
25 runs allowed (4.17 per game)
.760 pythagorean win percentage

Year-end record

106-56 record
830 runs scored (5.12 per game)
561 runs allowed (3.46 per game)
.672 pythagorean win percentage (109-53)

Miscellany

Best Dodgers home records

Year City W-L (Pct)
Year City W-L (Pct)
1899 Brooklyn 61-16 (.792)
1890 Brooklyn 58-16 (.784)
1953 Brooklyn 60-17 (.779)
2019 Los Angeles 59-22 (.728)
1955 Brooklyn 56-21 (.727)
1942 Brooklyn 57-22 (.722)
1946 Brooklyn 56-22 (.718)
2021 Los Angeles 58-23 (.716)
2017 Los Angeles 57-24 (.704)
Source: Baseball Reference

Home, sweet home: The Dodgers set a modern-era franchise record with 15 straight home wins, through Sunday. Going back even deeper, Brooklyn had a 15-game home win streak in 1890, their first season in the National League. The only streak longer was a 22-gamer at home in 1899.

At 58-23, the Dodgers had their second-best home record since moving to Los Angeles (behind only 2019), and the eighth-best home record in franchise history.

Go fourth and prosper: Julio Urías beat the Brewers with 6⅓ strong innings on Saturday, becoming just the second Dodgers pitcher with 20 wins in a season in the last 30 years, along with Clayton Kershaw. Urías is the fourth Mexican-born pitcher in major league history to win 20 games in a season, joining Fernando Valenzuela (1986), Teddy Higuera (1986), and Esteban Loaiza (2003).

Transactions

Tuesday: Cody Bellinger was activated after missing eight games with a broken left rib, and Albert Pujols hit the COVID-19-related IL after an adverse reaction to his second vaccination shot.

Thursday: Pujols was back from the COVID-IL after missing one game, and pitcher Andrew Vasquez was optioned.

Saturday: Clayton Kershaw was placed on the injured list, and Mitch White was called up for the 10th time this season.

Sunday: Andre Jackson was recalled from Triple-A, and White was optioned.

Game results

Week 27 batting

Player AB R H 2B HR RBI SB BB PA BA OBP SLG OPS
Player AB R H 2B HR RBI SB BB PA BA OBP SLG OPS
Seager 24 7 12 3 4 7 0 1 25 0.500 0.520 1.125 1.645
T.Turner 24 8 11 2 3 11 1 1 25 0.458 0.480 0.917 1.397
J.Turner 17 5 6 1 2 4 1 3 20 0.353 0.450 0.765 1.215
Pollock 19 5 5 0 4 8 0 2 22 0.263 0.318 0.895 1.213
Muncy 17 4 5 1 1 4 0 4 21 0.294 0.429 0.529 0.958
Betts 22 7 4 1 2 3 0 4 27 0.182 0.333 0.500 0.833
Taylor 10 2 2 0 0 0 0 4 14 0.200 0.429 0.200 0.629
Smith 17 3 2 1 0 2 0 2 20 0.118 0.200 0.176 0.376
Starters 150 41 47 9 16 39 2 21 174 0.313 0.397 0.693 1.090
Beaty 5 3 4 0 2 5 0 0 5 0.800 0.800 2.000 2.800
Bellinger 13 1 4 0 1 2 1 0 13 0.308 0.308 0.538 0.846
Lux 6 0 1 0 0 0 0 2 8 0.167 0.375 0.167 0.542
Pujols 5 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 5 0.200 0.200 0.200 0.400
Barnes 5 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 5 0.200 0.200 0.200 0.400
Bench 34 6 11 0 3 7 1 2 36 0.324 0.361 0.588 0.949
Pitchers 11 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 12 0.000 0.083 0.000 0.083
Offense 195 47 58 9 19 46 3 24 222 0.297 0.374 0.636 1.010

Week 27 pitching

Pitcher G Record IP H R ER BB SO ERA WHIP FIP
Pitcher G Record IP H R ER BB SO ERA WHIP FIP
Buehler 2 2-0 12.0 6 1 1 3 16 0.75 0.750 1.50
Urías 1 1-0 6.3 1 1 1 2 7 1.42 0.474 1.91
Gonsolin 1 0-0 4.7 4 3 3 2 5 5.79 1.286 7.88
Scherzer 1 0-0 5.3 11 6 5 0 4 8.44 2.063 6.55
Kershaw 1 0-0 1.7 5 3 3 0 1 16.20 3.000 1.97
Starters 6 3-0 30.0 27 14 13 7 33 3.90 1.133 3.50
Phillips 2 0-0 3.0 1 0 0 0 4 0.00 0.333 0.50
Bickford 3 0-0 2.3 0 0 0 1 3 0.00 0.429 1.88
Jansen 2 0-0, 2 Sv 2.3 0 0 0 0 4 0.00 0.000 -0.26
Bruihl 3 0-0 2.0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.000 3.17
Vesia 1 0-0 1.7 0 0 0 0 3 0.00 0.000 -0.43
Knebel 1 1-0 1.3 1 0 0 1 1 0.00 1.500 3.92
White 1 0-0 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0.00 0.000 1.17
Kelly 3 0-0 2.3 1 1 1 2 6 3.86 1.286 1.88
Treinen 2 1-0, Sv 2.0 2 1 1 1 3 4.50 1.500 8.17
Jackson 1 0-0, Sv 3.0 4 2 2 0 3 6.00 1.333 1.17
Price 2 1-0 2.0 3 2 2 1 0 9.00 2.000 11.17
Graterol 3 0-0 1.0 5 5 5 2 0 45.00 7.000 9.17
Bullpen 24 3-0, 4 Sv 24.0 17 11 11 8 28 4.13 1.042 3.04
Totals 30 6-0 54.0 44 25 24 15 61 4.00 1.093 3.30

Previous reviews: Apr. 1-4 | Apr. 5-11 | Apr. 12-18 | Apr. 19-25 | Apr. 26-May 2 | May 3-9 | May 10-16 | May 17-23 | May 24-30 | May 31-June 6 | June 7-13 | June 14-20 | June 21-27 | June 28-July 4 | July 5-11 | July 12-18 | July 19-25 | July 26-Aug. 1 | Aug. 2-8 | Aug. 9-15 | Aug. 16-22 | Aug. 23-29 | Aug. 30-Sep. 5 | Sep. 6-12 | Sep. 13-19 | Sep. 20-26

Up next

The Dodgers potentially run the David Green gauntlet, first with the Cardinals for the NL wild card game at Dodger Stadium, and should Los Angeles win it’s off to San Francisco with a first-ever postseason showdown with the rival Giants.

The NLDS pitching probables are only a guess. Neither team has revealed their rotation plans just yet.

Postseason schedule

Mon, Oct 4 Tue, Oct 5 Wed, Oct 6 Thu, Oct 7 Fri, Oct 8 Sat, Oct 9 Sun, Oct 10
Mon, Oct 4 Tue, Oct 5 Wed, Oct 6 Thu, Oct 7 Fri, Oct 8 Sat, Oct 9 Sun, Oct 10
Off Off NL wild card Off NLDS Gm 1* NLDS Gm 2* Off
vs. Cardinals at Giants at Giants
5:10 p.m. TBD TBD
Scherzer v. Urías v. Buehler v.
Wainwright Gausman Webb
TBS TBS TBS
*if the Dodgers win the wild card game