There was a bit more sweating this time around, but the Los Angeles Dodgers clinched a postseason berth on Saturday after a 10-6 victory against the San Francisco Giants.
It will be their sixth consecutive postseason appearance.
The defending NL champions, assured at least a spot in the wild-card game, join Colorado, Atlanta, the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee in the NL playoff field.
Next up, a chance for the National League West title. Heading into the evening, the Dodgers trailed the Colorado Rockies, who host the Washington Nationals, by a half game.
If Los Angeles and Colorado finish even, there will be a one-game tiebreaker for the West title Monday at Dodger Stadium.
Los Angeles has dealt with a rash of injuries, including the loss of shortstop Corey Seager for the season at the end of April. Third baseman Justin Turner didn’t get on the field until May 15, while closer Kenlsey Jansen has been limited by heart problems since the beginning of August.
The Dodgers were buoyed in the first half by from Max Muncy (22 home runs before the break) and the resurgence of Matt Kemp (.310, 60 RBI). A blockbuster trade at the start of the second half landed Manny Machado from the Baltimore Orioles, but the free-agent-to-be struggled, driving in just five runs in his first 25 games with the team.
As seems to the case every October, the Dodgers’ rotation beyond Clayton Kershaw will be a major question mark as the Division Series gets underway. Starters Rich Hill, Walker Buehler and Hyun-Jin Ryu have impressed down the stretch, but whether they can carry that over into the playoffs will decide the team’s fate.
The Dodgers finally got over the hump last season to reach the World Series for the first time since 1988, but fell in seven games against the Houston Astros.