PHOENIX — Last 12 months, the Los Angeles Dodgers went all the best way to the final day of the common season, received a whopping 106 video games and nonetheless misplaced the National League West title to the San Francisco Giants.
This time, Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers left little question.
Kershaw pitched seven dominant innings, and the Dodgers blanked the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-0 on Tuesday evening to win the NL West for the ninth time in 10 seasons.
The Dodgers walked from the dugout when it was over to congratulate one another, very like they did after most of their wins in a runaway season, and posed for a group picture on the sphere.
Then, it was again to the clubhouse at Chase Field for a spirited, spraying celebration. Clearly, the close to miss final 12 months, crushed by the Giants in a recreation for the division title, was on their minds.
“We weren’t defending National League West champions. That was first on our checklist,” supervisor Dave Roberts mentioned.
“It’s one thing we must always get pleasure from and be happy with, and get again to work [Wednesday]however it’s fairly the accomplishment,” he mentioned.
Freddie Freeman, Max Muncy and Joey Gallo homered because the Dodgers boosted one of the best document in the majors to 98-43. They lead the second-place San Diego Padres by a whopping 20½ video games in the division.
Roberts’ group could have loads of time to get set for its tenth straight 12 months in the postseason. The Dodgers’ first playoff recreation is sort of a month away, on Oct. 11
A crowd of 21,143, principally clad in Dodger blue, watched the clincher. It’s the Dodgers’ twentieth NL West crown because the majors cut up into divisions in 1969.
Kershaw (8-3) was sharp all through, permitting simply two singles and one stroll whereas hanging out 5. He threw simply 82 pitches, 55 for strikes. He lowered his season ERA to 2.44.
Kershaw missed three weeks due to a again challenge that has plagued him by way of the second half of his embellished profession. Since then, he has began thrice, permitting simply three runs in 18 innings with 19 strikeouts.
“That three-week type of hiatus gave him an opportunity to reset, and simply to know that even tonight, there was some extra in there. He’ll make three or 4 extra begins and be prepared for the postseason,” Roberts mentioned.
Caleb Ferguson and Craig Kimbrel completed the mixed three-hit shutout.
Gallo’s dwelling run, his seventeenth, cleared the center-field wall and gave the Dodgers a 2-0 lead in the second. The homer was measured at 438 ft. Muncy led off the inning with a single off Merrill Kelly — actually — because it bounced off the pitcher to the vacated left aspect of the infield.
Freeman led off the third inning with his twentieth homer, a 442-foot drive to right-center into the swimming pool space.
Last 12 months, the Dodgers beat the Giants in the NL (*10*) Series however misplaced to Freeman and the eventual champion Atlanta Braves in the NLCS.
Freeman noticed how far more tough it was for his present teammates to win with little or no relaxation final October. He has performed in each recreation this 12 months and refused to contemplate clinching too early as an issue.
“There isn’t any draw back,” Freeman mentioned. “You come to the yard and anticipate to win each single day. If you do not have that expectation, I do not know what you are doing as knowledgeable athlete.”
Mookie Betts agreed.
“You simply preserve enjoying,” the All-Star proper fielder mentioned. “It’s not like we will begin throwing away at-bats or pitches. We simply proceed to play the identical recreation.”
Muncy’s homer, additionally his twentieth, got here in opposition to Taylor Widener in the seventh.
Kelly (12-6) lasted 5 innings, shedding for the primary time in 14 begins. He gave up 5 hits, walked 5 and struck out eight. He threw 96 pitches — 30 in the lengthy second inning and 29 extra in the third.
It was the second straight shutout by the Dodgers in Arizona. Tyler Anderson and two relievers dealt with the Diamondbacks 6-0 on Monday.