The Los Angeles Dodgers gutted out a 5-3 win Tuesday night against the San Francisco Giants to not only snap an 11-game losing streak, the franchise’s longest since 1944, but also clinch a fifth consecutive trip to the postseason.
The Dodgers are the only team to currently have an such a five-year stretch, and it extended their franchise-best run of postseason appearances. Securing yet another berth to the playoffs came as a surprise for Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and his players. It initially was believed Los Angeles needed help, which they did not receive, from the Pittsburgh Pirates or New York Mets.
At worst, the Dodgers are now guaranteed the second spot in the National League Wild Card Game. They of course are playing for much more. Specifically an unprecedented fifth straight NL West title and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
They are in much stronger position to accomplish the former more so than the latter. Entering Wednesday, the Dodgers lead the Arizona Diamondbacks by 10 games with 17 left to play.
The Dodgers’ magic number to clinch the NL West title is down to to eight. An upcoming weekend series with the National League East champion Washington Nationals could prove key in determining who has homefield throughout the NL playoffs.
Washington took two of three games at Dodger Stadium in June and presently hold the tiebreaker in the event of a tie. The Nationals clinched the NL East last Sunday, becoming the first team to qualify for the playoffs this season.
While the Dodgers are set for another year of October baseball, their failure to reach the World Series since 1988 is the sixth-longest drought. They check in behind the Baltimore Orioles (1983), Milwaukee Brewers (1982) and Pittsburgh Pirates (1979), plus the Seattle Mariners and Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals, with both franchises yet to reach the World Series in their existence.
The NL Wild Card Game is set for Wednesday, Oct. 4. Game 1 of the NLDS will be played Friday, Oct. 6.