The Dodgers clinched a playoff berth Monday night.
For real, this time.
A day after the team believed it had locked up a postseason spot, Major League Baseball had to backtrack Monday morning, determining that there remained far-fetched yet technically possible three-way and four-way tiebreaker scenarios in which the Dodgers could miss the playoffs — if they lost all 23 remaining games on their schedule.
“I’m pretty confident we’re not going to lose the rest of the way, 23 in a row,” manager Dave Roberts said before Monday’s game.
He was right.
With a 6-0 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Dodgers officially secured their October ticket while lowering their magic number to win the National League West crown to one, setting up an opportunity for them to clinch the division title with a win (or San Diego Padres loss) Tuesday night.
Before Sunday’s game at San Diego, the Dodgers had been told that all they needed was one more win to clinch a playoff spot — which is why they celebrated their victory in style that day.
They had a champagne toast in the clubhouse. They were given hats with a playoff patch on the side. An “X” appeared next to their name in the standings on MLB’s website.
On Monday morning, though, the “X” was gone. MLB’s daily playoff-clinching scenarios news release included the Dodgers once again. And a graphic tweeted out from MLB’s official account Sunday congratulating the Dodgers was nowhere to be found.
Apparently, a previously overlooked scenario had come to light — one in which the Dodgers would have had to lose out, the Milwaukee Brewers would have had to win out, the Padres would have had to go at least 20-1, and the St. Louis Cardinals would have had to go exactly 13-8.
“I don’t see that happening,” Roberts said.
The Dodgers’ clubhouse didn’t seem too caught up in the situation either.
“I don’t think that was anything that garnered a lot of attention for us,” pitcher Tyler Anderson said.
Mookie Betts echoed similar sentiments when asked how much he followed the saga Monday.
“Uhhhh, zero,” he answered.
Roberts found out while watching MLB Network on Monday morning.
“Obviously, that was pooh-poohed overnight,” he said during his afternoon media scrum. “I really don’t care. We’re going to do it at some point in time.”
Indeed, he only had to wait until Monday night.
Anderson (15-3) boosted the Dodgers (97-43) by shutting out the Diamondbacks (66-74) over seven innings, lowering his earned-run average to 2.62 (fifth best among qualified NL starters) with his fourth start of at least seven scoreless innings this season.
“I didn’t think he had his best stuff tonight,” Roberts said. “But it just shows his compete and his will.”
The Dodgers’ lineup, meanwhile, did all of its damage late.
After Diamondbacks rookie Ryne Nelson threw six scoreless innings in his second career start, the Dodgers scored three runs in the seventh on Trayce Thompson’s sacrifice fly and Cody Bellinger’s two-run double, his first extra-base hit since Aug. 24.
Two innings later, Betts added a three-run home run that put the game out of reach and gave the Dodgers the chance to celebrate a clinched postseason spot for the second day in a row.
“I don’t know if that’s ever been done before,” Roberts joked.
“But it feels good.”
Tony Gonsolin still sore
A day after Tony Gonsolin threw his first bullpen session since he suffered a forearm strain late last month, Roberts said the right-hander still was battling soreness.
“I wouldn’t say I’m totally encouraged or discouraged,” Roberts said. “I think it’s kind of a day-to-day thing.”
Roberts said Gonsolin will throw another bullpen session Wednesday.
Is the manager still optimistic that Gonsolin — who originally was expected to miss only two starts — will be ready to start playoff games come October?
“Right now, I’m still confident,” Roberts said. “But obviously every day, every ’pen that goes by that he’s not at full strength — a little less confident.”
Out since mid-May when his return from Tommy John surgery was cut short by right forearm inflammation, right-hander Tommy Kahnle could be activated as soon as this week, Roberts said.
Right-handers Brusdar Graterol (elbow) and Yency Almonte (elbow) also are continuing to progress, Roberts said. Graterol will throw a bullpen session Wednesday, and Almonte will facing live hitting that day.
Left-handers Danny Duffy and Victor González, however, were taken off their rehabilitation assignments with triple-A Oklahoma City after Roberts said they were not progressing as hoped, raising doubt about their returns this season.
Gavin Lux near return
Dodgers utility player Gavin Lux (neck) will take at-bats at the team’s nearby Camelback Ranch facility Tuesday and could return to action this weekend.