LOS ANGELES. In a season of gaudy numbers, the Los Angeles Dodgers stand out with two sets.
“This team is in elite regular season company,” manager Dave Roberts said after a 6-1 win over the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday. “But we still know that the most important part of the season is yet to come.”
At 111–51, the Dodgers finished the regular season with 60 games over .500.
“Winning 100 games is crazy. That we won 111 is wild. It’s really hard to do,” Turner said. “We just kept chugging along.”
Clayton Kershaw set up for the postseason with nine strikeouts. Turner scored a crucial three-run tiebreaker in the fifth inning of the NL West champions, who became the most winning NL team since 1906 when the Chicago Cubs went 116–36.
“It’s overwhelming,” said Freeman, who joined the Dodgers in March from Atlanta. “You have to be good from start to finish.”
Kershaw reached 2,807 career strikeouts. He allowed one run and one hit in five innings and walked one as the Dodgers completed a three-game drift.
“We were all rooting for Freddie to reach that 100 RBI mark, and it’s the same with Trea,” Kershaw said.
The Dodgers have already taken first place in the playoffs and will have an advantage at home. They open the division series on October 11 against the New York Mets or San Diego.
“The first tournament is over. The big tournament is about to begin,” Freeman said. “No one cares what numbers you had, how many wins you had. Starting Tuesday, it’s the first until 11.”
The Rockies held to two hits for the fourth time this season to finish 68–94, their biggest loss since 2015. They were even worse than their 74–87 record in 2021.
There was drama in the meaningless game.
Freeman attempted to overtake Jeff McNeil from the New York Mets for the NL batting title. He needed a 4-of-4 to catch McNeal, Freeman doubled and scored in his first two at-bats, but a crash to the warning lane in center field in the fifth round ended his hopes.
Freeman hit .325 for the season, McNeil finished .326 after failing to start the rain-delayed Mets final against Washington.
“I was close,” Freeman said. “I gave him a move.”
Freeman finished with 199 hits. He and Turner became the first Dodgers teammates to reach 100 RBIs since Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp in 2009.
“Statistical counting is overlooked right now because everyone is thinking about efficiency, but you have to play every day to get some of those countable numbers,” Turner said. “You have to be healthy, you have to train all year round, up and down, from night game to day game, whatever it is. Those stats are still important to me and I know Freddie loves them too.”
Freeman’s 393-foot drive to the left tied the game 1-all with two strikeouts in the third. He stood out in the seventh run.
Turner’s three-shot to right center was pursued Chad Smith (0-1) and gave the Dodgers a 4-1 lead. This resulted in a 0-for-5 score for Turner, who added a single in seventh to boost an average that had fallen in recent weeks.
Cody Bellinger added a solo shot before seventh against Noah Davis, who was making his major league debut.
Colorado Ezekiel Tovar hit his first homer in the big leagues with two strikeouts in his second.
Dodgers: OF Chris Taylor (neck) worked in a cage. “I expect him to be on the roster after the season,” Roberts said. … Right side Blake Trains (stiffness of the right shoulder) and RHP Dustin May (stiffness in the lower back) were simulated games. Trainen has faced three strikers and will do so again in a few days. May threw two innings up and down, which Roberts called “very reassuring”.
THROUGH THE TURNSTILES
This season, the Dodgers drew 3,861,092 fans at home, the second most in team history. Only 3,974,309 were better in 2019, the last season before the COVID-19 restrictions.
Rockies: Open Spring Practice vs. Arizona, Feb. 25
Dodgers: You’ll have five days off before Tuesday’s divisional home series against the New York Mets or the San Diego Padres.
KANSAS CITY, Missouri. Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the Kansas City Royals Wednesday night, shortly after the struggling franchise finished the season 65-97 with a sluggish 9-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians.
The Royals exercised their option on Matheny’s 2023 contract during spring training when the club hoped he would go from underdog to contender once again. But due to poor pitching, struggling with young players in the positions, and failed experiments with veterans, by mid-summer, the Royals were virtually out of the playoffs.
A disappointing product led owner John Sherman to fire a longtime front office executive last month. Dayton Moore, creator of the American League Champions and 2015 World Series Champions. Moore was replaced by one of his longtime understudies, JJ Piccollo, who made the decision to fire Matheny hours into the season.
Matheny became the fifth major league manager to be sacked this year.
Philadelphia’s Joe Girardi was replaced on June 3 by Rob Thomson, who miraculously took the Phillies to the playoffs as a wildcard team. The Angels replaced Joe Maddon with Phil Nevin four days later, Toronto’s Charlie Montoyo was replaced by John Schneider on July 13, and Rangers’ Chris Woodward was replaced by Tony Beasley on August 15.
Also, Miami’s Don Mattingly said late last month that he would not be returning next season.