Generally speaking a champion is considered such until they’ve been knocked off. In the case of the San Francisco Giants, winners of three World Series in the last five years, their opportunity to defend their title appears to be coming to an end Oct. 4.
Decimated by injuries and a bullpen that’s recently struggled to protect leads, San Francisco has fallen eight games (as of Saturday morning) behind Los Angeles in the National League West division standings. A third consecutive Giants loss on Friday lowered the Dodgers’ magic number to clinch the division to two games.
Rather than opening a four-game series at AT&T Park on Monday with the division still up for grabs, Carl Crawford is hopeful the Dodgers can win a third straight NL West title over the next two games with the Colorado Rockies, according to Bill Plunkett of the OC Register:
If it’s possible, then, yeah, that’d be nice,” Dodgers outfielder Carl Crawford said, pleading ignorance of where the Dodgers’ lead stood. “That’d be ideal for us if we could take care of business now.”
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly had a slightly different view, however. At the time speaking before the Giants suffered a loss Friday night, Mattingly said he is of the belief the Dodgers will need to win in San Francisco in order to be crowned division champions:
“We’re three away. We’ve got to get three somehow. We talked about it in the press conference the other day – we gotta win three games so we’re going to have to win a game in San Francisco, in my mind. That’s just the way I want to continue to look at it. If we can’t win there and can’t get it done there, then we don’t deserve to do it. We can win there. So I’m not concerned about that.”
In 15 games played against the Giants this season the Dodgers are just 6-9. Moreover, Los Angeles is a dreadful 0-6 in games played at AT&T Park in 2015. However, they last played there May 21, and the Dodgers swept the Giants in their most recent series (three games).
While the Dodgers may have little to play for in terms of the division by the time they arrive in San Francisco, they must remain mindful of the New York Mets, who currently trail them by one-half in the standings.