The Los Angeles Dodgers have hit a bit of a rough patch in recent weeks, most recently dropping the first three of a four-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field.
The Dodgers took the field on Sunday afternoon hoping to avoid being swept and although it took 11 innings and a comeback to do so, they were able to earn the 4-3 victory. They avoided being swept by the Diamondbacks in a four-game series for the first time.
L.A. was two outs away from another loss when Cody Bellinger tied it on a solo home run in the ninth inning. Joc Pederson then hit the game-winner when he was pinch-hit in the 11th, helping the Dodgers end their road trip on a high note.
The win lowered the Dodgers’ magic number to clinch the National League West down to seven as they are on the verge of winning the division for a seventh consecutive season.
Despite holding a sizable division lead, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts essentially considered Sunday’s game one that his club needed to win as seen on SportsNet LA:
“To come in here and lose four, there’s a lot of — I hate saying pressure — but it was kind of a must-win situation as far as getting back on the winning track.”
Pederson didn’t start the game but still found a way to make an impact with the big home run to win it. He agreed with Roberts’ sentiment that it was a must-win for the Dodgers:
“We’ve been grinding a little bit the last couple days, so it was nice to get a W. Petey came in and closed it out. It was needed. … We needed it a lot. Get back on our feet before going home.”
With only a month remaining in the season, the Dodgers continue to have with a sense of urgency, recognizing there is more to play for beyond just winning the NL West.
One other reason that winning as many games as possible helps out the Dodgers is because they are currently in a dogfight with the New York Yankees (90-48) and Houston Astros (89-49) for the best record in baseball.
At 89-50, Los Angeles enters Monday behind both American League clubs. The second-best team in the NL is the Atlanta Braves at 84-54 as they made recent headway in the standings due to the Dodgers’ slide.