Once counted out by people who don't know anything about when/when not to doubt Andrew Friedman (HINT: Never doubt him), the Los Angeles Dodgers are once again hurtling towards the MLB playoffs in 2023, and will enter the postseason with a good degree of steam heat behind them.
Once upon a time in ... like, May, people in the desert were preoccupied trying to math out the particulars of the Diamondbacks' march to the NL West title. Come on. The DODGERS? In the year of our lord 2023? Who's in that rotation? Max Muncy comeback, you sure about that? That trade deadline? We're doing Amed Rosario? Really?
And yet, right as rain, the Dodgers have done their annual zoom past the pretenders to the top of the division, and are mere days from clinching a division title and the (likely) No. 2 seed behind the Atlanta Braves.
With October approaching, here's how the Dodgers can secure things and get to plotting out their playoff rotation.
Dodgers Playoffs 2023: What is a Magic Number anyway?
The Dodgers seem fairly secure in the NL postseason field this year, with mostly seeding still up for grabs, but nothing's over 'til it's over, and if the weekend's Braves series has you checking the clinch numbers, we wouldn't blame you.
LA's "Magic Number" represents the combination of Dodgers wins/the losses of the teams behind them needed to make Los Angeles impossible to catch. Right now, that elimination number in the NL West is ... 11. It's Sept. 5. That's quite low.
11 more Dodgers wins will cinch it. So will eight Dodgers wins and three Diamondbacks losses, six Dodgers wins and five D-Backs losses, and so on. Not only is that doable, but it's doable by Sept. 15.
What's the Dodgers' magic number just to make the playoffs? Considering the D-Backs and Giants, currently bunched behind them in the west, are in the thick of the Wild Card race, it stands to reason that the two are very similar. In order for LA to clinch a playoff berth, the combo number is just 11 through the action on Sept. 5.
On the flip side, the combination of wins/losses necessary to eliminate the Rockies from playoff contention entirely is just four. Four! Hold onto that silver sliver of hope, Colorado.
Once again, the Dodgers have met their considerable internal expectations, forcing their doubters and detractors to cross their fingers, hope for next year, and figure out another institution to hate.