LOS ANGELES — While it remains unlikely that the Dodgers will get home-field advantage throughout the postseason, Los Angeles at least knows that the path to a potential National League Championship Series runs through Dodger Stadium.
Playing at home is an advantage for most teams. For the Dodgers, taking care of business at home has been one of the biggest advantages in the sport. They came into Sunday’s game with the best home record in the National League.
It was only fitting that they closed out their home schedule in 2023 with a walk-off 3-2 win in 10 innings over the rival Giants on Sunday. With the win, the Dodgers finished the year with a 53-28 record at Dodger Stadium, tied with the Rays for the best home mark in the Majors.
- Games remaining (7): at COL (4), at SF (3)
- Standings update: The Dodgers (96-59), who clinched the NL West title on Sept. 16, clinched a bye in the NL Wild Card round on Saturday. They trail the Braves (100-56) by 3 1/2 games for the No. 1 seed in the National League. The Braves hold the tiebreaker, as they went 4-3 against the Dodgers in the season series.
“I think for us, we’re trying to continue to play good baseball and win games. Keep going,” said Dodgers utilityman Chris Taylor. “Trying to head into the playoffs on a positive note.”
Before Sunday’s game, manager Dave Roberts was talking about how this year’s team has been able to find ways to win in different ways. Without the level of talent they had last season, the Dodgers have had to rely on their entire roster to become one of the best teams in the Majors.
That was no different on Sunday.
On the pitching side, Lance Lynn got the start for the Dodgers and gave them necessary length, allowing just two runs over six innings. For the second consecutive start, Lynn showed more swing-and-miss stuff, which is something the Dodgers have tried to dig into over the last month. Lynn, however, did allow his Major League-leading 43rd homer of the season.
“I thought tonight, like Lance’s last outing, there’s a lot more swings and miss,” Roberts said. “There were a couple walks in there that we would love to have back, but as far as the stuff, it’s really good. I expect the same thing when he goes on Friday.”
Behind Lynn, the Dodgers’ bullpen showed why the team has confidence it can withstand some of the pitching injuries in October. Los Angeles’ bullpen has been one of the best in the second half of the season. Since the All-Star break, the Dodgers’ bullpen has posted a 2.22 ERA, which is the best in the Majors.
“I think we’re just all kind of feeding off each other,” said Dodgers right-hander Shelby Miller. “I think consistently we’re going out there and putting up zeros and getting ahead of hitters as a group, and it starts with the starters going out there and doing what they’re capable of and then us down in the ‘pen fully believing in ourselves and what we can do later in the game.”
On Sunday, Alex Vesia, Ryan Brasier, Brusdar Graterol, Evan Phillips and Miller combined to toss four scoreless frames. In the ninth, Phillips got out of a bases-loaded jam by striking out Mitch Haniger on a sweeper.
In the 10th, it was Miller’s turn to escape a jam. After Kiké Hernández lost a fly ball in center field, the Giants had the bases loaded with only one out. Miller then induced a grounder right back up the middle, which bounced off Miller’s forearm and right to Taylor, who was backing up at shortstop. Taylor stepped on second base and threw to Freddie Freeman, who ended the double play with a nice scoop.
Taylor then wrapped up the Dodgers’ home schedule with a walk-off RBI single in the 10th off Giants closer Camilo Doval. It was the type of win the Dodgers have managed to pull off all season. The next time they take the field at home will be Game 1 of the NL Division Series.
“Really good ballgame,” Roberts said. “Just trying to scratch and crawl and find a way to hang in there. Both went through a lot of arms and we came up with the big hit.”