It’s time for playoff baseball folks. In the regular season finale, the Dodgers defeated the Rockies by a score of 6-1.
In his final start of the year, Clayton Kershaw was nearly flawless. Kershaw faced seventeen hitters, retiring fifteen including the last ten he faced. The only blemish on his line was a solo home run allowed to Ezequiel Tovar in the second inning, his first career long ball. Kershaw wouldn’t allow another base runner.
Kershaw would strike out nine hitters, allow just one hit and one walk. He lowered his season ERA to 2.28, his lowest full season ERA since 2016 (1.69). His sixth strikeout of the day was the 2,804th of his career, passing none other than Cy Young on the all-time strikeouts list.
Tovar’s homer in the second inning gave the Rockies a 1-0 lead which wouldn’t last very long. Freddie Freeman tied the game with a solo home run in the third inning, his first since September 13.
Freeman had himself a great day at the plate going 3-4, finishing the year with a .325 average, falling just short of the NL batting title. Jeff McNeil of the New York Mets, who had the day off, finished the year at .326, leading not only the NL, but all of Major League Baseball. Despite falling short, Freeman collected his 99th RBI on his game tying homer and 100th on an RBI single in the seventh. He’s been everything and more that the Dodgers could have hoped for when he signed a six-year, $162 million contract this past offseason.
Another Dodger who broke a home run drought was Trea Turner. With the score tied 1-1 in the fifth, Turner smacked a three-run home run over the wall in center field to give the Dodgers a 4-1 lead, his first since September 11. Turner’s home run drove in his 98th, 99th and 100th RBIs of the season, joining Freeman as the first pair of Dodger teammates with 100 RBIs since Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier in 2009. They become the sixth pair of teammates in MLB history to finish first and second in hits.
Dave Roberts handed the ball to Chris Martin in the top of the seventh and the veteran reliever just continued to impress. Martin threw eight pitches, all strikes, striking out two and retiring the side in order. As a Dodger, Martin has a 34:1 strikeout to walk ratio. Dominant.
Cody Bellinger led off the bottom of the seventh with a solo home run, his second hit of the day and nineteenth homer of the year to extend the lead to 5-1. Freeman would add a sixth Dodger run on an RBI single later in the inning.
Craig Kimbrel chose a good time to put together his best outing of the year. In the eighth inning, Kimbrel struck out the side in order on just fifteen pitches. It may be too little too late, but it’s great to see the struggling closer end the year on a high note. Whether it’s his last outing of the year or not is yet to be seen.
Caleb Ferguson loaded the bases with one out in the top of the ninth but struck out Elehuris Montero and Michael Toglia on six pitches to end the game and close the door on the 2022 regular season.
With the win, the Dodgers finished the regular season at 111-51, tied for the fourth most wins in MLB history. Additionally, the Dodgers became the first team to lead the MLB in both runs scored and fewest runs allowed since the 1944 Cardinals.
Home runs: Freddie Freeman (21), Trea Turner (21), Cody Bellinger (19); Ezequiel Tovar (1)
WP — Clayton Kershaw (12-3): 5 IP, 1 hit, 1 run, 1 walk, 9 strikeouts
LP — Chad Smith (4-4): 1.1 IP, 1 hit, 3 runs, 2 walks, 1 strikeout
The Dodgers are off until Tuesday, October 11 when they will host Game 1 of the NLDS versus the winner of the Padres/Mets wild card series. Game time and probable pitchers will be announced at a later date.