LOS ANGELES – Even before the Dodgers beat the Arizona Diamondbacks, 8-4, on Tuesday night, their magic number to secure a playoff spot lacked the usual magic.
It’s zero, for the record. The Dodgers ‘victory, combined with the San Diego Padres’ loss to the San Francisco Giants, ensured they would reach the playoffs for the ninth consecutive season. When asked if this year’s squad reminds him of any predecessors, third baseman Justin Turner declined.
“We’re in our own way right now,” Turner said, “and we’re playing really good baseball.”
The Dodgers (93-53) are on track for 103 wins. However, so far they are heading straight for a wild card spot, a really special path. Only twice in franchise history, and not since 2006, have the Dodgers entered the postseason as a wild-card team.
With the best record in baseball, the Giants (95-50) have a chance to end the Dodgers’ streak of eight straight National League West titles. They lead the division by 2½ games with 17 regular season games remaining; the Dodgers have 16 games left.
Maybe that’s why Turner was caught off guard when asked before Tuesday’s game about the Dodgers’ plans to celebrate if they made sure.
“Although you don’t want to take those things for granted,” he said, “I don’t know if we will celebrate.”
The Dodgers are perfect 5-0 in their current home run, which ends Wednesday night with a rematch against Arizona. The Dodgers have won 13 of 15 head-to-head meetings with the Diamondbacks who live in the basement (47-98).
The Dodgers were never behind on Tuesday. Max Muncy, Will Smith and Trea Turner each hit home runs. Muncy and Turner finished 2 of 3 each with two RBIs. Muncy has 33 home runs, third in the National League.
Dodgers starter Tony Gonsolin (3-1) didn’t allow a hit until Ketel Marte led off the fourth with a single. The right-hander allowed just two hits and two walks while striking out six, the third time in 11 starts this season that he pitched at least five innings without allowing a run.
Marte also hit a three-run home run off reliever Justin Bruihl in the seventh inning, momentarily putting Arizona at 6-4.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Dodgers loaded the bases against right-hander Brett de Geus, whom the Dodgers lost in the Rule 5 draft last December. Sacrifice flies off Smith and Justin Turner provided the final score.
More to come in this story.