Dodgers 1st Team to Clinch 2020 MLB Playoff Spot with Win vs. Padres

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistSeptember 16, 2020

The Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020, in Phoenix. The Dodgers won 10-9 in 10 innings. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Matt York/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Dodgers are headed to the playoffs for the eighth straight year after clinching a postseason berth with Wednesday's 7-5 victory over the San Diego Padres

In this 60-game season, the Dodgers have firmly established themselves as the team to beat in October. They currently own the best record in Major League Baseball (35-15), and their .700 winning percentage is the highest in franchise history. 

Los Angeles' success in 2020 hardly comes as a surprise. The team won a franchise-record 106 games during the regular season last year, marking the second time in three seasons it broke the 100-win barrier. 

Rather than bet on their core nucleus of talent to carry them again in 2020, the Dodgers made the biggest deal of the offseason by acquiring four-time All-Star Mookie Betts from the Boston Red Sox.

The Dodgers ensured Betts wasn't going to be a one-year wonder for them, signing him to a 12-year extension worth $365 million that runs through the 2032 season. 

Adding Betts to a roster that already featured reigning NL MVP Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy, Corey Seager, Enrique Hernandez and Justin Turner has the Dodgers lineup ranked first in MLB in home runs (93), third in runs scored (279) and fifth in OPS (.802). 

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The Dodgers also remain one of the best and deepest pitching groups in MLB. Clayton Kershaw continues to dominate with a 2.28 ERA and 0.792 WHIP in eight starts. Walker Buehler has had some bad luck with home runs but still boasts a 3.86 ERA and 9.9 strikeouts per nine innings. Dustin May is emerging as another ace with a 2.81 ERA in nine starts. 

Los Angeles' entire pitching staff leads MLB with both a 2.99 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP. 

Of course, all these achievements will only increase the pressure on the Dodgers heading into the playoffs. The franchise has had a championship-caliber roster for the last few years but has yet to reach the top of the mountain. 

Los Angeles has come close with two World Series appearances in 2017 and 2018. The roster assembled this season looks more than ready to make another deep postseason run.