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Dodgers clinch 7th straight NL West title

Posted September. 12, 2019 07:32,   

Updated September. 12, 2019 07:32


The Los Angeles Dodgers won their seventh straight National League West title and has become the first team to secure a spot in the playoffs among 30 MLB teams.

The Dodgers defeated the Baltimore Orioles 7-3 on Tuesday with the help of Walker Buehler’s seven shutout innings and Corey Seager’s two home runs. The Dodgers (94-52) overtook the Diamondbacks (75-70) by 18.5 games to clinch the NL West title. The Dodgers has never lost the top spot since it took it on April 18. It is the third-longest division championship streak in MLB following the Atlanta Braves (14 NL East titles in a row between 1991 and 2005) and the New York Yankees (9 AL titles in a row between 1998 and 2006).

The Dodgers had not assured themselves of their NL championship during the regular season last year. It sealed a tie with the Colorado Rockies after a 162-game season last season and barely clinched the NL West title by winning a tie-breaker game on October 2. But this year, they did it after only 146 games, fastest win since the introduction of the wild-card game. It was also the team’s 18th NL West title.

As a matter of fact, Ryu Hyun-jin joined the team in 2013, the year when the Dodgers’ winning-streak started. Ryu, who never won the championship when he played for the Hanwha Eagles in the KBO, has enjoyed the joy of winning the division title since he joined the Dodgers. Ryu celebrated the victory with champagne and beer with his teammates on Tuesday. The Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts, who joined the team in 2016, has become the first MLB manager to earn his 4th straight title in the MLB.

But the fall has just started for the Dodgers. The Dodgers, one of the popular teams in the MLB, aims to win the World Series. Dave Roberts and the Dodgers players celebrated the victory, wearing t-shirts that read, “October Reign.”

The Dodgers advanced to the World Series for two years in a row until the last season but failed to clinch the title. It lost to the Houston Astros 3-4, being defeated in Game 7 in 2017 and lost to the Boston Red Sox 1-4 last year.

Ryu has a key role to play for the Dodgers to win the World Series in 31 years since 1988. After showing spectacular performance in the first half of the season, Ryu has fallen into a slump in the recent four games and missed a game. He unusually had bullpen pitching on Wednesday. Ryu became the first Korean pitcher to start in the World Series last year, becoming a losing pitcher in Game 2 after allowing four runs in four and 2/3 innings.

Heon-Jae Lee uni@donga.com