The Los Angeles Dodgers clinched an eighth consecutive National League West title, extending their franchise record. Prior to the current streak that began in 2013, the Dodgers had never won more than three division titles in a row.
In 2016, they became the first team to win the NL West in four consecutive seasons since the Divisional Era began in 1969 — a record that’s now been extended to eight. Overall, the Dodgers’ streak trails only the Atlanta Braves (14) and New York Yankees (nine) for most consecutive division titles since 1969.
Manager Dave Roberts also extended his personal record by guiding the Dodgers to an NL West title in each of his five seasons at the helm. Last year he became the first manager in MLB history to lead his team to a division title in each of his first four full seasons.
Roberts previously joined Tommy Lasorda (1977) as the only rookie managers in franchise history to oversee the Dodgers to a division title when they won it in 2016.
This season’s NL West crown was in some question last week heading into a three-game series with the San Diego Padres. The Dodgers dropped the opener at Petco Park but rebounded for a series win that turned into a five-game winning streak and separation in the standings.
“I recall a time a few months ago where I didn’t know if we were even going to have a season this year. To now fast forward, to be crowned NL West champs again, it’s a credit to everybody in that clubhouse and organization,” Roberts said.
“Really proud of these guys. It’s something a lot of people expect, but it should never be taken for granted. As you can see, every year there’s a different champion in divisions. The consistency we put forth every year is a credit to the entire organization. I’m proud of these guys.”
Of course, extending their reign over the NL West doesn’t come with much benefit this season. Amid the changes implemented in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, MLB and the Players Association agreed to an expanded postseason.
As such, the Dodgers — and every other club that qualifies — will begin the postseason with a best-of-three Wild Card Series. By virtue of finishing as one of the top four teams in the NL, the Dodgers will get to host that at Dodger Stadium.
Should L.A. advance to the NL Division Series, that would be played in Arlington, Texas. Globe Life Field is also poised to host the NL Championship Series and World Series.
NL standings watch
While the Dodgers clinching the NL West and best record in the league was considered a formality over the past week or so, who they will face in the Wild Card Series remains a clouded picture.
“It changes like every day,” Clayton Kershaw recently said with a laugh. “There’s no point in looking.
“I feel like it’s one team and then there’s six other teams that it changes between every day. This is a one-year deal, and we understand that. Once the postseason starts we’ll be ready for whoever gets there.”
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