Saturday night's win against the San Francisco Giants gave the Los Angeles Dodgers their 95th of the 2023 season and they gained a half-game on the Atlanta Braves, who had their game rained out and are set for a doubleheader on Sunday.
On top of shutting out the rival Giants 7-0, the Dodgers got to honor a few of their best players for historic achievements.
First up is Clayton Kershaw. Though he hasn't "been himself" since returning from the injured list and manager Dave Roberts once again exercised caution with him last night, the left-hander tossed five scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and two walks while striking out five.
In the end, he got the win, which was the 210th of his career. That suprassed Don Drysdale for second on the Dodgers' all-time list. He only has Don Sutton to catch at 233, meaning he'll probably need two more seasons in LA to make it happen.
Pitchers like Kershaw are a dying breed, with Gerrit Cole arguably the only one remaining, so fans simply have to appreciate every last win he notches under his belt before he finally calls it a career.
Dodgers News: Clayton Kershaw and Mookie Betts history, Braves injuries piling up
On the offensive side of the ball, Mookie Betts' career year remains on its unstoppable crash course. He went 2-for-3 with two runs scored, two RBI and two walks. He recorded his 40th double and 105th RBI of the 2023 campaign, the latter of which put him in the record books.
Betts has driven in the most runs from the leadoff spot in Major League Baseball history, and you can bet he's going to pad those numbers over the final week of play. He's hitting .309 with a 1.003 OPS and 168 OPS+. He's set a career high in home runs with 39 and is eight doubles, nine RBI and 11 runs scored away from setting career bests in those categories as well.
While they remain unlikely, everyone just saw what he did in August, so we're not going to rule anything out until the last pitch of the season is thrown next Sunday.
What a season. Get ready to wear that Dodgers hat into Cooperstown, Mookie! The evidence continues to pile up for him to do so.
Outside of Dodger Land, Friday brought some important playoff news as the Braves placed Max Fried on the IL with a blister issue, effectively ending his regular season. He should be back for the NLDS, but there's been no clarity on that, and there's a chance he's pitching compromised when the postseason begins.
On Saturday, the Braves suffered another loss when Charlie Morton hit the IL and was ruled out for the NLDS.
Morton is dealing with right index finger inflammation, which further puts pressure on the Braves' starting rotation. Atlanta's offense will be the driving force in their playoff push, but now that Morton is down for at least the next three weeks and Fried, who has only made 14 starts this season, still isn't a guarantee to be back for the NLDS, the Braves are left in a tough spot, especially if they have to face someone like like the Phillies, who booted them from the playoffs last season.
In theory, that could make the Dodgers' road to the World Series a tad less stressful, but, again, it'll all be about the Braves' offense. If they can get past the NLDS, Morton and Fried will more than likely be set for the NLCS, which will keep the stakes as high as ever for LA.