Eddie MatzESPN Senior AuthorShut
- Eddie Matz covers the Washington Nationals and the world of Main League Baseball for ESPN.com. He is been writing for ESPN since 2002, and is a graduate of the College of Pennsylvania.
BALTIMORE — The Los Angeles Dodgers are dancing.
Los Angeles beat the Baltimore Orioles 7-Three on Tuesday night time at Camden Yards to clinch their seventh consecutive Nationwide League West pennant.
Within the divisional period (since 1969), solely the Atlanta Braves and New York Yankees have strung collectively extra consecutive crowns. The Braves gained 14 straight NL East titles from 1991 to 2005 (there was no postseason within the strike-shortened 1994 marketing campaign). The Yankees have been American League East champs 9 years operating, from 1998 by means of 2006.
Apart from constructing on its spectacular streak of West titles on Tuesday, L.A. additionally turned the primary MLB crew to safe a spot within the 2019 postseason.
“You bought to tip the hat to the entrance workplace and the job that they do yearly creating a lot depth,” Justin Turner informed Spectrum SportsNet after Tuesday’s victory. “You have a look at the blokes round this room, I feel each single man had their finger on profitable this division for the seventh straight yr. So many good gamers [with] one objective in thoughts — that is to win the World Collection.”
Not like final yr, after they beat the Colorado Rockies in a Sport 163 tiebreaker to earn a sixth straight division title, the Dodgers obtained it executed early this time round. By nabbing the crown of their 146th contest of the season, they tied the 2016 Chicago Cubs for the fourth-fastest clincher of this century. The three groups forward of them — the 2002 Braves, the 2017 Nationals and the 2008 Angels — all didn’t advance within the playoffs, whereas the ’16 Cubs went on to win the World Collection.
Previous to this yr, the earliest clinch in the course of the Dodgers’ present string got here in 2013, after they claimed the division of their 153rd recreation. From a calendar perspective, L.A.’s clincher is tied for the sixth-soonest within the wild-card period, in keeping with Elias Sports activities Bureau analysis. The 2008 Angels and 2017 Nationals additionally clinched Sept. 10. The 1998 Yankees, who did it Aug. 30, have been the earliest.
As little suspense as there’s been within the NL West this season, there was simply as little Tuesday night time at Camden Yards. The guests jumped out to an early lead, scoring 4 runs within the high of the primary, three of which got here courtesy of shortstop Corey Seager‘s 15th residence run of the season. Seager additionally hit a two-run blast within the third, whereas extremely touted rookie Gavin Lux launched a towering solo shot within the fifth, the primary round-tripper of his profession.
Proper-hander Walker Buehler picked up the win, pitching seven scoreless frames to enhance to 13-Three on the season. He walked none and fanned 11 to succeed in 200 strikeouts for the primary time in his profession. After the ultimate out, as an alternative of a canine pile on the pitcher’s mound, the Dodgers simply went about their regular postgame enterprise, shaking fingers with each other earlier than adjourning to the clubhouse for the same old beer- and champagne-filled celebration.
“This does not appear as dramatic,” supervisor Dave Roberts mentioned postgame, moments after sharing a second with L.A. legend Tommy Lasorda, the previous Dodgers supervisor who gained the franchise’s most up-to-date championship in 1988. “Trying on the calendar, the place we’re at, it was extra subdued. But it surely was form of simply natural. It is a kind of issues that, we anticipated it, it was clearly early in September, however does not take away from what we as a corporation achieved. As a recreation, it is robust. It is a grind. So once you do get moments like this, I feel we do a very good job of appreciating what we achieved. It is particular. It truly is.”
“Yearly’s clearly thrilling,” Seager mentioned. “You may’t ever take it with no consideration. It is one thing that does not at all times occur. Though we have gained seven in a row, it is by no means a assure. So that you at all times take pleasure in it.”
As soon as the celebration is over, Los Angeles will flip its consideration towards gaining home-field benefit all through the playoffs.
“All the pieces we do going ahead is to win 11 video games in October,” mentioned Roberts, whose membership has a .737 residence profitable proportion that ranks second within the majors behind the Houston Astros. “The query we’re all going to get requested is, are we going to let our guard down, lose our edge going into the postseason? That is one thing that I do not anticipate from our crew, and tomorrow we will anticipate to win a baseball recreation.”
With Tuesdays’ victory over Baltimore, the Dodgers moved to 94-52. They started the day with a three-game lead over Atlanta for greatest document within the Nationwide League, and have been two video games behind the Yankees and Astros for baseball’s greatest mark. They have been 17½ video games forward of the second-place Arizona Diamondbacks, and have held no less than a share of first for all however six days this yr.