A five-run sixth inning provided the Dodgers more than enough cushion to finish their regular season in grand style, beating the Giants 5-2 for their 100th win of the season.
With their 100th win, the Dodgers are just the eighth team in major league history to win 100 games in three consecutive seasons.
100 wins three years in a row
The caveat to this kind of feat is that teams playing a 154-game schedule did not have the same opportunity to win 100 games as teams playing 162 games. The equivalent of 100 wins in 162 games is 95 wins in a 154-game season. The Brooklyn Dodgers pulled that off three years in a row from 1951-53. The Yankees did so nine straight years from 1949-57.
But in terms of winning 100 games, only seven teams have done so three years in a row. And including 106 wins in 2019, the Dodgers have won in triple digits in each of their last four seasons, and posted an absurd .717 winning percentage in the 60-game 2020 campaign in between. No other major league team won 100 games in four consecutive full seasons.
Bobby Miller kept getting stronger as his rookie season progressed, and he was lights out in his final regular seeason tuneup with four scoreless innings. He allowed only a single and a walk, and struck out four. Miller since the start of September has a 3.19 ERA in a team-leading 36⅔ innings over six starts, with a team-leading 40 strikeouts against only seven walks.
Miller looks primed and ready to start Game 2 of the National League Division Series, where he and the Dodgers will face either Milwaukee or Arizona.
Playing meaningless games, especially with five off days looming before the NLDS, presents an interesting balance of players trying to stay ready and keeping fresh with also trying to avoid injury.
That proved difficult on Sunday against Giants rookie left-hander Kyle Harrison, who hit two Dodgers in a row in the span of three pitches in the first inning. He grazed Freddie Freeman, but then plunked Will Smith in the left shoulder with a 93.4-mph fastball.
You knew it was serious because Smith, the recipient of the second consecutive hit by pitch, showed human emotion on the baseball field, visibly displeased and telling Harrison to settle down on his way to first base.
The most painful hit by pitch was on a 81-mph slurve in the fourth inning that got Chris Taylor on the inside of his left knee, dropping the utility man to the ground in obvious pain. After conferring with team trainer Thomas Albert and manager Dave Roberts, then hopping around a little bit, Taylor remained in the game and even played one more inning in left field before coming out.
Taylor was diagnosed with a left knee contusion, the team announced during the game.
Harrison is the second pitcher to hit three Dodgers with pitches in a game this year, joining Angels lefty Reid Detmers on July 8 at Dodger Stadium.
Though they were hit three times, the Dodgers did not have a hit against Harrison in five innings, but made up for it with six hits in the sixth. It was fitting that the two players the Dodgers acquired near the trade deadline to hit lefties provided the big blows against southpaw Tayler Rogers.
Amed Rosario singled home the first run of the game, and one run later Kiké Hernández hit a three-run shot to break the game open. Fittingly all five runs in the sixth came with two outs, adding to the Dodgers’ MLB-best total of 369 runs scored with two outs this season.
Hernández has 17 extra-base hits and 30 RBI in 185 plate appearances with the Dodgers, after he had 17 extra-base hits in 323 PA with the Red Sox this season. The utility man started Sunday at shortstop and later moved to both left field and right field. The only other Dodger to play those three positions in a game was Hernández himself, back on June 17, 2018.
Ryan Pepiot also got a final tuneup, pitching three innings to get the Dodgers through the eighth. He allowed a pair of solo home runs to Casey Schmitt for the Giants’ only runs of the game.
Pepiot, who missed over three months with a right intercostal strain to open the season, ends his regular season with a 2.14 ERA in 42 innings, with 38 strikeouts against only five walks. Pepiot allowed only 10 total runs in his eight appearances, with the last nine runs all coming on (seven) home runs.
Home runs: Kiké Hernández (11); Casey Schmitt 2 (5)
WP — Victor González (3-3): 1 IP, 1 strikeout
LP — John Brebbia (3-5): ⅓ IP, 1 hit, 2 runs, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
Sv — Evan Phillips (24): 1 IP, 1 strikeout
The Dodgers have five days off before Game 1 of the National League Division Series at Dodger Stadium. Clayton Kershaw is lined up to start next Saturday at home.