The Los Angeles Dodgers still enjoy the same comfortable lead in the National League West they have held for much of the 2019 season, but that doesn’t apply to the best overall record or top spot in their own league.
The Dodgers are a mere 8-8 since the start of a three-game series against the New York Yankees. The matchup at Dodger Stadium was billed by most as a potential World Series preview. Their recent slide has delayed the clinching of a seventh consecutive NL West title.
L.A. enters play Sunday with their magic number at four and Tuesday being the earliest they could officially wrap up the division. “Yes, we are going to clinch some point in time. We’ve just got to play a complete baseball game,” Roberts said.
“That’ll take care of itself. We’d like to clinch and move forward but the main thing is I just want us to play consistently good baseball.”
As the Dodgers have hovered around .500 over the past two weeks, the Atlanta Braves rattled off nine consecutive wins at one point and now are on the Dodgers’ heels for the best record in the NL.
“I’m not (watching). I’m cognizant, obviously,” answered Roberts when asked if he’s keeping an eye on the standings.
“The way the season plays out, the records and all that is going to come out of the wash. The thing for us is more of collectively, individually, positionally, playing good and clean baseball. Once we get consistent with that, it’ll all take care of itself.”
Roberts pushed back on the idea doom and gloom is beginning to surround the Dodgers, which was a refrain that formed when they lost 16 of 17 late into the 2017 season. That year they were also boat-racing the NL West and looking to secure the best record in baseball.
“I think this pales in comparison to ’17,” Roberts compared the two stretches. “In ’17 the sky might’ve been falling. I don’t feel that way right now.”
Roberts has remained consistent in his messaging that home-field advantage through the World Series is of value in that it would be a byproduct of the Dodgers playing well enough to amass the requisite wins.