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Dodgers clinch seventh straight NL West crown

9:51 PM ET

  • Eddie MatzESPN Senior Author

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      Eddie Matz covers the Washington Nationals and the world of Main League Baseball for ESPN.com. He is been writing for ESPN since 2002, and is a graduate of the College of Pennsylvania.

BALTIMORE — The Los Angeles Dodgers are dancing. Once more.

Los Angeles beat the Baltimore Orioles 7-Three on Tuesday evening at Camden Yards to clinch their seventh straight Nationwide League West pennant.

Within the divisional period (since 1969), solely the Atlanta Braves and New York Yankees have strung collectively extra consecutive crowns. The Braves gained 14 straight NL East titles, from 1991 to 2005 (there was no postseason within the strike-shortened 1994 marketing campaign). The Yankees have been AL East champs 9 years operating, from 1998 via 2006.

Apart from constructing on their spectacular streak of pennants on Tuesday, the Dodgers additionally turned the primary MLB workforce to safe a spot within the 2019 postseason.

In contrast to final yr, after they beat the Colorado Rockies in a Recreation 163 tiebreaker to earn a sixth straight division title, the Dodgers received it accomplished early this time round. By nabbing the crown of their 146th contest of the season, they tied the 2016 Chicago Cubs for the fourth-fastest clincher this century. The three groups forward Los Angeles — the 2002 Braves, the 2017 Nationals and the 2008 Angels — all did not advance within the playoffs, although the ’16 Cubs went on to win the World Sequence. Regardless of that latest historical past, supervisor Dave Roberts is a fan of front-loading.

“I’d reasonably the early one versus the late one,” mentioned Roberts, who has guided Los Angeles in every of the previous 4 seasons, previous to Tuesday’s win. “We did the late one final yr, and 163 was aggressive. I like this one, simply so you possibly can actually get it previous you, get guys relaxation, put guys into rolls and positions you would possibly face within the postseason.”

Previous to this yr, the earliest clinch throughout the Dodgers’ present string got here in 2013, after they claimed the division of their 153rd sport. From a calendar perspective, L.A.’s clincher is tied for the sixth soonest within the wild-card period, in accordance with Elias Sports activities Bureau analysis. The 2008 Angels and 2017 Nationals additionally clinched on Sept. 10. The 1998 Yankees, who did it on Aug. 30, have been the earliest.

As little suspense as there was within the NL West this yr, there was simply as little on Tuesday evening at Camden Yards. The visiting Dodgers jumped out to an early lead, scoring 4 runs within the high of the primary, three of which got here courtesy of shortstop Corey Seager‘s 15th dwelling run of the season. Seager additionally hit a two-run blast within the third, whereas extremely touted rookie Gavin Lux launched a towering solo shot within the fifth, the primary round-tripper of his profession.

Proper-hander Walker Buehler picked up the win, pitching seven scoreless frames to enhance to 13-Three on the season. He walked none and fanned 11, within the course of reaching 200 strikeouts for the primary time in his profession. With the division already determined, Los Angeles will now flip its consideration towards gaining home-field benefit all through the playoffs.

“It is definitely essential contemplating how we have performed at dwelling,” mentioned Roberts, whose membership has a .737 dwelling successful proportion (56-20) that ranks second within the majors behind the Houston Astros. “However there’s nonetheless a price with all the pieces, and I believe the primary factor is maintaining guys wholesome, maintaining guys sharp, and never making an attempt to redline simply to win by any means mandatory. If we play to our potential and play the way in which we’re able to, that ought to maintain itself.”

With the victory over Baltimore, the Dodgers moved to 94-52. They started the day with a three-game lead over Atlanta for the most effective document within the Nationwide League, and have been two video games behind the Yankees and Astros for baseball’s greatest mark. They have been 17.5 video games forward of the second-place Arizona Diamondbacks, and have held no less than a share of first for all however six days this yr.

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