SAN DIEGO — They’ve accomplished step one — like appropriately filling out your identify on the SAT.
The Dodgers clinched a postseason berth for the tenth consecutive season Sunday afternoon, doing it in well-worn style by beating the San Diego Padres 11-2 behind a two-homer, five-RBI day from Justin Turner.
The win minimize the Dodgers’ magic quantity to clinch their ninth Nationwide League West title in that point down to 2 with 23 video games left within the common season. The second-place Padres are off Monday, so the Dodgers can’t safe the division earlier than Tuesday, once they play in Arizona.
“I don’t assume it’s something you’ll be able to take with no consideration,” Turner mentioned of the postseason berth. “I’ve been on some groups early in my profession that didn’t have this chance. So undoubtedly lucky to be part of my group that cares about profitable.
“We received everybody collectively and Dave (Roberts) gave` a brief little toast. Simply get pleasure from this one a bit bit and we nonetheless have numerous work to do in entrance of us.”
The toast and hats with the postseason brand on the facet have been the one outward indicators within the Dodgers’ post-game clubhouse that Sunday’s victory meant something greater than the 95 that preceded it this yr.
“I don’t assume it’s going to be ho-hum once we win the division,” Freddie Freeman mentioned. “That’s particular. Everytime you win a division, that’s particular and also you have a good time that. Postseason berth could also be a bit completely different. However in a pair days hopefully we’ll be a bit bit extra going loopy.”
For Andrew Heaney, being on a staff headed to the postseason was significant.
“That is the primary time I’ve ever been on a playoff staff,” he mentioned after permitting simply two runs (and just one dwelling run) in 5 innings Sunday. “I used to be joking with some guys, it’s ho-hum for them. However I used to be like, ‘This a giant deal for me.’
“Final yr was robust for me. Received optioned then DFA’d a pair days earlier than the top of the season. I watched the Yankees have a good time, pop champagne. I used to be sitting in a resort room on my own. That was a reasonably low level for me. So now to be on a staff like this and hopefully be contributing to it, making an attempt to carry my weight and do what I can to assist us win — that is one thing that I relish, for positive.”
Paper tigers pumped up as threats to the Dodgers’ regaining management of the division this season, the Padres at the moment are 20 video games again of Los Angeles, and have misplaced eight consecutive sequence in opposition to their neighbors to the north and 21 of the previous 25 head-to-head conferences.
Thought of a energy, the Padres’ beginning pitching has allow them to down over the previous month, posting a 4.91 ERA of their previous 27 video games via Sunday — a stretch throughout which they’ve been pretty mediocre (14-13).
Proper-hander Joe Musgrove did breeze via the primary 4 innings in opposition to the Dodgers, permitting only a pair of singles to Freeman (15 for his previous 30).
However an previous slight got here again to hang-out Musgrove.
After giving up two dwelling runs to Justin Turner in a 3-1 loss at Dodger Stadium on June 30, Musgrove provided up the opinion that he didn’t think about Turner “an enormous risk.”
“Out of all the fellows within the (Dodgers’) lineup, I didn’t really feel like he was an enormous risk,” Musgrove mentioned after that sport.
His opinion may need developed since then.
Turner and Chris Taylor every hit solo dwelling runs off Musgrove within the fifth inning Sunday, erasing an early 2-0 Padres lead.
Within the dugout after his homer, Turner’s teammates reminded him of Musgrove’s “not a risk” scouting report.
“I feel he may wish to retract that,” Roberts mentioned. “I didn’t hear that. I don’t keep in mind that one. However I definitely see him and worth him as a risk in our lineup.”
Within the sixth, Mookie Betts led off with a double, Freeman was deliberately walked and Musgrove hit Will Smith with a pitch to load the bases with one out. Again within the lineup after getting a cortisone injection in his sore left knee and lacking the primary two video games of the sequence, Max Muncy gave the Dodgers the lead with a two-run single. That ended Musgrove’s day earlier than he may face Turner once more.
Within the seventh, the Dodgers broke the sport open with a six-run inning — their main league-leading nineteenth inning of 5 or extra runs.
Turner had the large hit in that one, his second homer of the day and second grand slam of his profession (off reliever Craig Stammen).
Since his two-homer sport off Musgrove to finish June, Turner has hit .371 (59 for 159) with 40 RBI in 44 video games, 9 dwelling runs and an OPS over 1.000.
Only a coincidence?
“I’m not anxious about what’s occurring over there. I’m anxious about our guys in right here and profitable ballgames,” Turner mentioned.
“I imply, yeah, I feel it’s coincidence. In any other case, I’d have requested individuals to say stuff about me loads sooner within the yr and I’d have loads higher season going. Like I mentioned, I don’t take note of what’s occurring in different individuals’s homes. Simply fear about our enterprise, handle our stuff in right here.”
Onerous work within the batting cage on his swing had much more to do with Turner’s turnaround after a gradual begin than any inadvertent motivational talking by an opponent, he mentioned.
“There’s in all probability 1,000,000 various things that go into it,” Turner mentioned. “There’s numerous stuff that goes into hitting, so it’s exhausting to place your finger on one factor. However simply at-bats, confidence and outcomes sort of helped feed that. However belief within the course of and going via all of the work and understanding issues have been going to come back round is actually the important thing.
“I don’t know, if you happen to look to the bare eye, if you happen to’ve seen a lot of a change. However there’s undoubtedly completely different feels occurring, completely different plans, completely different approaches in opposition to guys. Having the ability to finish at-bats when they need to be ended has been good.”