Los Angeles Dodgers Clinch National League West with 7-6 Victory over Arizona
The Dodgers announced the news via Twitter:
Your Los Angeles #Dodgers are the 2013 National League West Champions.— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) September 19, 2013
The team also produced this Vine of the celebration:
The celebration continues: https://t.co/LuHW0rv42w— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) September 19, 2013
Hanley Ramirez led the Dodgers to victory with two home runs, and A.J. Ellis' solo shot in the eighth inning gave L.A. the decisive lead.
The Dodgers celebrated after the game with their own kind of pool party:
Tim Federowicz weighed in following the win:
So blessed and honored to be apart of a playoff team my first year in the MLB!!! Now lets win it all!!!— Tim Federowicz (@FedX19) September 20, 2013
The squad had been extending the division lead for much of the second half of the year, but the latest victory puts the Arizona Diamondbacks mathematically out of reach.
The Dodgers are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2009, when they lost to the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League Championship Series.
How will the Dodgers fare in the playoffs?
While Los Angeles has been quite impressive since the All-Star break, a division crown seemed extremely unlikely at the start of the year. After a loss on June 21, the squad fell to a season-low 12 games under .500 at 30-42.
At that point, the team stood in last place in the NL West and 9.5 games behind the first-place Diamondbacks.
However, the Dodgers got a major spark thanks to the tremendous hitting of Hanley Ramirez and Yasiel Puig, who would both be competing for a batting title if they had enough at-bats to qualify.
Still, the strength of the team is the pitching staff, which ranks third in the majors in team ERA this season with a 3.33 mark. The starting rotation leads all of baseball in the category, led by Cy Young favorite Clayton Kershaw. With Hyun-jin Ryu, Zach Greinke and Ricky Nolasco all putting together above-average seasons as well, the Dodgers will remain an incredibly tough team to beat in the postseason.
Clinching the division this early also gives the squad a chance to rest key players and get a head start on preparing for the playoffs.
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