The Los Angeles Dodgers begin their final homestand of the regular season Monday with a 4.5-game lead in the National League West.
All the Dodgers need to accomplish is win two of the three games against the San Francisco Giants to clinch their second consecutive division title. While that certainly would be a team accomplishment, they have two players whom manager Don Mattingly believes have reached statistical milestones.
The Dodgers return to Chavez Ravine with Clayton Kershaw, who has already won 20 games this season and Adrian Gonzalez, who leads the team and the Majors with 112 RBIs. Mattingly said he views the two stats as a sign of a great season, via ESPN LA’s Mark Saxon:
From my childhood, I remember you hear about Baltimore’s five [actually, four] 20-game winners and stuff like that,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “That’s a landmark. It’s like 100 RBIs for a hitter. Twenty wins, I think, is something we’ve always put out there as a landmark and a great year.”
Kershaw’s 20 wins lead the Majors and so too does his 1.80 ERA and 0.86 WHIP. He threw his first career no-hitter this season and had an 11-game winning streak. Making his list of accomplishments more impressive is he missed one month due to injury.
Kershaw’s last start Sept. 19 didn’t fall in line with what’s been expected from him and he benefitted from his offense hitting well. Among the bats that picked up the ace was Gonzalez.
Giancarlo Stanton’s injury opened the door for Gonzalez to take the RBI lead and the first baseman certainly has taken advantage of the opportunity. In the four-game series with the Chicago Cubs, Gonzalez hit two home runs and drove in six runs, with five of the RBIs coming in one game.
Gonzalez has six games remaining to add to his RBI total and Kershaw is scheduled to start the series finale against the Giants Wednesday.