Dodgers 2014 NL West Champs: News And Notes From The Aftermath


Well that was fun! The party is still going on in Los Angeles. The Dodgers clinched the NL West title on Wednesday night in front of over 53,000 Blue covered fans at Dodger Stadium with a 9-1 Win over their hated rival San Francisco Giants.

The Dodgers and the Giants have battled each other many times over the last 60+ years for a division or a pennant. Starting with those immortal awful words spoken by Bill Terry in 1934. From Bobby Thompson’s shot heard round the world in the 1951 NL Playoffs, to the 1962 NL Playoffs, (which ended horribly for the Dodgers), to Joe Morgon’s stupid stupid home run in 1982, to Mike Piazza’s two beautiful home runs in 1993 (Miracle upon miracles he’s hit another one!), to Steve Finley’s grand slam in 2004, to the agony of 2012, the pool party of 2013, and now to this year. The Dodgers and the Giants have been knocking each other out for decades. It’s only fitting that it happened again.

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Some news and notes from last night’s game and celebration.

Things didn’t look good for a minute. The first five innings were tense and full of teeth gnashing. I still felt the Dodgers would probably win, but Kershaw didn’t look quite as sharp as he normally does. Funny we say that after he whiffs eleven batters and walks none in eight innings. He only gave up one earned run on Wednesday. But for a minute you could almost see things coming unraveled.

The Dodgers weren’t hitting Tim Hudson, and Kershaw was getting blooped and singled. The third inning you could have said that the Giants had the momentum for just a moment. You could almost see it getting ruined. You know, the whole thing. Back to back singles from Joaquin Arias, and Gregor Blanco. Then Kershaw committed a rare balk. How many times has that happened? Ten times. That’s right, Kershaw had only ten career balks coming into Wednesday night’s game. If you noticed, there was some sort of pick-off play on as Hanley was inching behind Arias. Maybe that’s what happened? Confusion? Yes.

As a matter of fact, that was Kershaw’s second balk this season. It doesn’t happen often that Kershaw makes a mental lapse, but it happens to the best. That took the bunt away from Hudson, who ended up grounding out anyways. Then there was the Hunter Pence chopper to Uribe, who threw home late and not in time to get the sliding Arias. A.J. Ellis was way out of position on that play to field the throw and make the tag, especially when Arias was running on contact.

Then Panik singled to left, and I don’t know why Blanco didn’t try to score on that one, but tried to go to third on Matt Duffy’s pinch-hit single to right in the seventh inning. He didn’t want to test the noodle arm of Crawford, but decided it was better to test Yasiel Puig’s cannon arm in right field. Good choice there Blanco. Keep making those Tootblans.

But getting back to that third inning. Squashing the Giant’s momentum against Kershaw and the Dodgers was key. Especially after Panik’s single loaded the bases for Buster Posey. But Kershaw got him to ground into a double play to get them out of the inning. Even though Uribe double clutched the throw.

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Then Kershaw’s triple in the fifth. Puig’s 0-2 home run ignited the crowd in the sixth, and Crawford’s two-run double blew the game open. It was a feast for the eyes. There was the strange decision by Giant’s manager Bruce Bochy to intentionally walk Hanley Ramirez to pitch to Crawford. He brought in left hander Javier Lopez to do it. I think that was a panick move, no pun intended. It was all but over by then anyways.

Then the Dodgers really piled it on in the eighth inning, scoring four more times. I thought it was hilariously fitting for Brian Wilson to get the last three outs in the ninth inning. Wilson did his arms crossed thing, and the crowd went into delirium. Now if we can just start the next season in the United States, that would be great.

On a side note, we would like to thank everyone for following along with us all season. Stacie and I and our staff, try our best to provide you guys with the best Dodger coverage we can. Sometimes we’re in the press box, somtimes we’re in the stands, and sometimes we’re at home on our living room couches. We don’t claim to be the best, but we are the most passionate Dodger site on the internet. Thank you all again for your readership.

Some finale notes on Clayton Kershaw before I move on to some larger franchise notes on the Dodgers. Kershaw finishes his incredible 2014 season with a 21-3 record, and a 1.77 ERA. He finishes with 239 whiffs, and just 31 walks. His 0.856 WHIP is the tops in Baseball, as is his 194 ERA+. His 10.8 whiff per nine rate is also the best, and he leads MLB with six complete games. This is the first time since 2009 that Kershaw finishes with less than 200 innings pitched. Kersh pitched 198.1 innings this season.

Kershaw is now 14-5 with a 1.44 ERA against the Giants in his career. In minimum 20 starts, that is the lowest ERA against an opponent for a pitcher in MLB history.

As for the Dodgers, this is the 19 time in Los Angeles history that they have qualified for the playoffs. The 13 time they have won the division, and the fourth time in seven years they’ve won the division.

This is the seventh time in franchise history the club has reached the postseason in consecutive years. The Dodgers have posted consecutive 90 win seasons for first time since 1976-1978. The Dodgers never had a losing streak longer than three games all season, joining the 1988 and 1924 teams respectively.

The Dodgers once again overcame a 9.5 game deficit to win the division championship. The Dodgers were 9.5 games back on June 8 of this year, and 9.5 back on June 22 of last season as well.

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The Dodgers have made the playoffs in 1959, 1963, 1965, 1966, 1974, 1977, 1978, 1981, 1983, 1985, 1988, 1995 1996, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2013, and now 2014. With World Series appearances in 1959, 1963, 1965, 1966, 1974, 1977, 1978, 1981, and 1988. Championship years were 1959, 1963, 1965, 1981, and 1988. Of course the club won their only World Series in Brooklyn in 1955, and also won pennants in 1949, 1952, 1953, and 1956.

It’s important to remember that with their 91-68 record right now, the Dodgers have clinched the number 2 seed in the National League, and home field Advantage in the NLDS. They’ll play the winner of the NL Central, which could be either the Cardinals or the Pirates. The Dodgers are still alive for the best record in the NL, which is currently held by the Washington Nationals. The Dodgers are two games back of the Nationals with three to play. The Dodgers do not currently hold the tiebreaker with the Nationals and Washington’s magic number to clinch that is at 2.

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The NLDS will begin on Friday October 3rd, for the Dodgers at home against either the Cardinals or Pirates. If the Dodgers get the best record in the league, then they would instead open at home against the winner of the wild card game. Ironically that could be against the Giants if the Dodgers finish with the best record, and the Giants old onto win one of the wild card spots, and they defeat the Pirates in the wild card game. The Dodgers and the Giants have never qualified for the postseason in the same season.

The Dodgers still have three games remaining in the regular season. After an off day on Thursday to rest, the Colorado Rockies will come into Dodger Stadium to play the final three games of the regular season on Friday night (7:10PM), Saturday night (6:10PM), and Sunday afternoon (1:10PM) We’ll continue our coverage until the end.

Jordan Lyles will counter Roberto Hernandez on Friday night’s series opener. Eddie Butler will duel Dan Haren on Saturday night, and Christian Bergman will face Zack Greinke in the regular season finale on Sunday afternoon.