MLB Sports: 7. 03 AM UT LOS ANGELES — Although the Dodgers won a World Series championship in 2020,, they wanted more. The Dodgers were unable to celebrate their title like the previous champions due to all of the safety and health protocols. No talk shows, champagne showers or parades through Los Angeles were held. The Dodgers’ back-to-back wins were enough to motivate them for this season. However, the lack of normalcy 2020 has certainly fuelled their desire to win another title. The Dodgers won Tuesday’s 8-4 victory over the D-backs at Dodger Stadium. They also lost to the Reds and Padres. This was their first step towards a repeat performance, earning their ninth consecutive postseason berth. Max Muncy, the Dodgers’ first baseman, said, “It’s an amazing moment, to be in the postseason for, what, nine years?” It’s quite an achievement. It’s impossible to take the postseason as a given. It’s an exciting moment and everyone is excited about it.” The Dodgers are focusing on winning the National League West for the ninth consecutive season, despite securing a playoff slot. It’s been more difficult than expected as the Dodgers are still 2 1/2 games behind Giants with 16 remaining in regular season. The Dodgers were focused on greater accomplishments and didn’t celebrate the win with an on-field party. The Dodgers also did not have a champagne party. Third baseman Justin Turner, and Dave Roberts, the manager, shared a message during a champagne toast in the home clubhouse. Roberts stated, “We made a small champagne toast, shared a few words, and acknowledged that this was a huge accomplishment. It’s not something you want to lose sight of. We acknowledged that. “We also acknowledged that there is still much to be done and that this is only the beginning.” It was fitting that the Dodgers received a strong performance from a starter on the night that they secured a playoff berth. This Dodgers team has relied on their pitching staff as its backbone. On Tuesday, it was again. Tony Gonsolin was sharp in his second start after coming off the injured-list. The right-hander, despite having shoulder problems this season, looked sharper against the D-backs. He struck out six in five scoreless innings. Perhaps the best thing about Gonsolin’s performance was his velocity, which was very similar to the kind of pitcher he was in his breakout 2020. Gonsolin’s four-seam fastball averaged 94.8 MPH, which is 1.3 more than his season average. This could indicate that Gonsolin may have shoulder problems. Gonsolin stated that he was “definitely just way more efficient today.” “I was kind of grinding with team the whole season, but being able to contribute makes me feel much better,” Gonsolin said. The Dodgers now have an effective five-man rotation that could help them achieve even greater postseason success. Walker Buehler and Max Scherzer have been the driving forces, but Clayton Kershaw and Gonsolin are now ready to help. The Dodgers’ last five games have seen just three earned runs in their 31 1/3 innings. Roberts stated, “I have said from the beginning that you win with start pitching.” “And I think we have the best pitching in baseball. The Dodgers had been expected to reach this level given the talent available. But, no one expected this season would turn out as it did. Kershaw and Gonsolin were both absent for a significant portion of the season. Mookie Betts isn’t fully healthy since the start of the year. Trevor Bauer is gone since July, after he was placed on administrative leave. Trea Turner and Scherzer were traded in one of the most outrageous Trade Deadline deals. The Dodgers have used 61 all of their players, which is the highest number in franchise history, dating back to Brooklyn. Even for a team who knew that one day they would be celebrating a postseason win, it’s been a long road. The Dodgers were able to go about their business on Tuesday. They are looking forward to October’s celebrations, which they have been anticipating since last year’s World Series. Turner stated that they like their team and like the place we are at right now. It’s all about taking each game one at a time and controlling what we can control as well as what’s ahead of us.
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