Although the Los Angeles Dodgers are on the verge of clinching the National League West division title and don’t have much left to play for, the same can not be said about some of their opponents that are in the midst of a fierce postseason battle.
The Dodgers began their series with the Seattle Mariners on Friday as the team from the Emerald City is locked into a tight playoff race in the American League. They trail the AL West-leading Houston Astros by 1.5 games and the second-place Texas Rangers by half a game.
The Mariners also hold a 0.5-game lead over the Toronto Blue Jays for the final Wild Card spot, so every game has added importance for them.
With so much on the line for Seattle, their fans were locked into the series opener at T-Mobile Park against the Dodgers while Mariners manager Scott Servais managed with extra urgency. That created a playoff-like atmosphere, which Dodgers manager Dave Roberts appreciated, via SportsNet LA:
“It was a lot of fun. This fanbase is one of my favorites in all of sports. These fans are loyal and they travel. They travel here, come and support their ballclub, so it was fun. I think the Dodgers were well-represented as well. From pitch one, there was so much energy, and you could see our guys fed off of it. It was a really, really fun ballgame to be part of.
“You get Kirby going, doing what he does, and then our guy, it was a pitchers’ duel early. It was fun to be a part of. … Those guys didn’t quit. I thought Scott managed like it was a playoff game. Those guys are fighting for their lives, and we’re trying to win every ballgame as well. It’s hard to simulate a playoff, but this environment tonight was pretty close.”
The on-field action in the series opener also played out similarly to a playoff game. The two sides were locked into a pitchers’ duel until seven total runs scored between the fourth and sixth innings.
Both sides had multiple chances to capitalize and were aggressive using their bullpens, but the Dodgers ultimately prevailed to a 6-3 victory. The Dodgers also had key contributions from the bottom of their lineup with Miguel Rojas leading the way with a two-run homer.
Dodgers magic number for NL West
With a win over the Mariners and a San Francisco Giants’ loss to the Colorado Rockies, the Dodgers’ magic number is now two. They can clinch their 10th division title in the last 11 seasons as early as Saturday.
The Dodgers are set to play the Mariners once again while the Giants have a doubleheader with the Rockies and the Arizona Diamondbacks face off against the Chicago Cubs. Both the Giants and Diamondbacks have an elimination number of two.
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