At minimum the Los Angeles Dodgers figure to find themselves in a one-game playoff upon conclusion of the 2021 regular season. Entering play Sunday, they are in possession of the first National League Wild Card Game spot, 11.5 games ahead of the Cincinnati Reds.
Of course, the Dodgers still have visions of winning the NL West for a ninth consecutive year. They remain 2.5 games back of the San Francisco Giants and on the horizon this weekend is a crucial series at Oracle Park.
The Dodgers haven’t always run away with the division during their current streak, most recently needing a Game 163 against the Colorado Rockies in 2018. Blake Treinen was not with the club that year, but believes their back-and-forth in the NL West this season will pay dividends.
“You look at our division, we have three really, really good teams at the top, and we’ve also got this Colorado team that’s playing really hot right now,” Treinen said after the Dodger’s victory on Saturday.
“I think at the beginning of the year, listening to people from your guy’s side of aisle saying it’s going to be a World Series slug between us and the Padres. Then you see the Giants playing as well as they are and coming into their own with a veteran presence and young talent. It’s kind of been a fun, competitive ride the whole year.
“We don’t take any team for granted, we don’t take any situation for granted. This whole season has kind of just been a grind because there’s been three teams at the top. You don’t really pay attention to what the other teams are doing. You kind of focus on what we can control. At the end of the day, when the season ends, you deal with what you have.
“You can’t say we could’ve done things better or worse; we have the second-best record in baseball. It’s just unfortunate there’s another team that’s doing the same thing right now, but at the end of the day I’m going to hedge our bets on our organization to get the job done down the stretch. We just have an incredible amount of talent, work ethic and give a crud. We want to win a division, we want to be the best team in baseball. It’s only good for us when we’re having to run down a team that’s ahead of us.”
Smith embracing NL West race
Similar to Treinen’s sentiment, Smith is both confident in the Dodgers and of the belief needing to play at a high level will suit the club well come October.
“They’re playing good baseball, but we’re pretty confident in ourselves coming through this last month,” he said. “We’ve still got games against them to make up those couple games we’re behind. We know every game is going to matter, and that’s going to help us out in the postseason as this month goes by.”
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