On Tuesday night at Chase Field, Arizona, the Los Angeles Dodgers clinched the National League West Division - the best in the West, again!
Following a momentary lapse in concentration last season, they allowed the San Francisco Giants to nip in and win the title, not so this season.
The Dodgers have dominated, almost from day one, meanwhile the San Francisco Giants are looking for something from the remainder of this three-game series as they plan for the 2023 season.
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Francisco Giants, Game One of Three
Oracle Park, San Francisco, California
22.15 ET, Friday September 16th 2022
|How to watch||Apple TV+|
|Odds||LA Dodgers -155, SF Giants +135|
The Los Angeles Dodgers have just clinched their ninth NL West title in 10 years and they have run away with the Division this year, clinching the championship in their 141st game.
This is the earliest the Dodgers have clinched the championship since their relocation to Los Angeles in 1958.
They have barely been out of first place, apart from a few days in April and one day in the middle of June. Since then they have occupied first place for 149 days.
How fitting was it that Clayton Kershaw was on the mound for the game-clinching title win. That was the fourth time that Kershaw started an NL West-clinching game for the Dodgers, having previously done so in 2009, 2014 and 2015.
From 2013-2020, winning the NL West was a formality for Los Angeles. Which had an eight-year reign atop of the division, the final five with team manager Dave Roberts at the helm and winning the World Series championship in 2020, for the first time since 1988.
Roberts spoke to MLB.com following the clinching-game win over the Diamondbacks, saying: "You know when you start Spring Training, you start the season, you know you have a talented roster.
"But looking into the season, we weren’t the defending National League West champions. That was first on our list, to get the Division back to Los Angeles."
The marquee move in the offseason was to clinch the signing of first baseman Freddie Freeman, another All-Star, adding to an already star-studded roster. Freeman joined the Dodgers from the World Series champions, the Atlanta Braves and signed a six-year, $162million deal.
This helped turn the Dodgers from a strong offensive team to a juggernaut of a side. They have a plus-320 run differential, 30 runs above the franchise record, set in 1889.
They may become the first MLB team to score at least 300 more runs than they allowed since the 2001 Seattle Mariners, who won 116 games.
Many of the Giants players have things to prove over the final few weeks. They decided last year after winning the NL West title that the players they had last year were good enough for this season and they would return to the postseason.
It was a simple plan and perfectly understandable. Keep a winning team together and you have a happy clubhouse etc.
The plan didn't work this season. The Giants need to shake things up, they need to try something different, they can't keep the same team for a third season.
However, they have given a new two-year deal to Wilmer Flores worth $13 million with a mutual option for 2025. They very nearly traded Flores at the deadline and he would have had plenty of admirers, however the Giants front office felt he was better as a Giant than against.
This season for the Giants appears to have been one that never got going, never really caught fire. They were always behind the eight ball against the Dodgers and the San Diego Padres in the table.
San Francisco occupied first place in the Division a miserable nine days in total, they are currently 30.5 games behind now. A massive improvement is required, especially as the Padres have a loaded roster ready to go for next season.
The Dodgers have Dustin May on the mound who will make his fifth start of the season after missing the last 18 months following Tommy John surgery.
May has a 1-2 record with a 4.29 ERA. Logan Webb will be pitching for the Giants. The 25-year-old has a 13-8 record with a 2.88 ERA.