Although Clayton Kershaw was on the mound Friday, his outing was unlikely any other he’s had since Aug. 5 against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. In that start, Kershaw allowed three earned runs in seven innings and took home a no-decision in the Dodgers’ win.
On a day when their ace wasn’t at his best, the Dodgers more than picked up the slack. They scored six runs in two separate innings, including the first, and cruised to a win. At the time of completing their game, the Dodgers extended their division lead to three games.
By the time the team woke up Saturday morning, their lead grew to 3.5 games and the Dodgers clinched a trip to the postseason by virtue of a Milwaukee Brewers loss.
While the Dodgers have earned themselves a seat at the table, Clayton Kershaw didn’t believe it was reason to celebrate quite yet, via Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
Obviously, making the playoffs is a starting point, but I don’t know if there’s necessarily a celebration for it. [A Wild Card berth] would be something of a letdown now, maybe not something to really celebrate, but maybe a pat on the back.”
Matt Kemp shared a similar view, even expanding on wanting to do more than repeat as division champions:
We want to go bigger than that,” Kemp said of the Wild Card. “We want to win the National League West. It’s good to know we made the playoffs, but I wouldn’t mind the best record in the NL. We’ve still got to continue to play good baseball. I want to win the West, for sure.”
While the Dodgers benefitted from the San Francisco Giants and Brewers losing, the Washington Nationals collected another win to maintain their 1.5-game lead over the Dodgers for the best record in the National League.
Beginning Saturday, the Dodgers have two games remaining with the Chicago Cubs and three-game series against the Giants and Colorado Rockies.
Should the Dodgers fall short of catching the Nationals, they can blame their 2-4 head-to-head record, which includes losing two of three at home during the first three days of September.