The victory in San Diego secured an eighth consecutive trip to the playoffs, the third-longest streak in MLB history, trailing only the 1991-2005 Atlanta Braves (14) and the 1995-2007 New York Yankees (13).
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts wasn’t even aware his team had clinched until he was asked about it after the game.
It was long considered a foregone conclusion for the Dodgers, whose 35-15 record is the best in the majors.
“It’s a first step,” Roberts said of clinching.
The Dodgers maintain a 3½-game lead over the Padres with 10 games remaining. If that holds, L.A. will host the opening best-of-three wild-card series against the No. 8 seed in the National League in 14 days.
If the Dodgers and Padres both advance, they would meet in the five-game NL Division Series at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, beginning Oct. 6, even though both teams could finish with baseball’s two best records.
Given the quasi-bubble established for October and the unlikelihood of fans in attendance, first-place teams such as the Dodgers get few, if any, perks from finishing with their league’s best record.
The only true advantage comes with hosting the opening series, an advantage afforded to each of the top four teams in each league. There will be no off-days within each of the first three rounds, among the many logistical issues Roberts believes should have been figured out sooner.
“These are things that should have been dealt with before we’re a week out,” Roberts said before Wednesday’s game.