Los Angeles Dodgers, MLB Postseason, San Diego Padres

Can Los Angeles Dodgers be first team in, last team out of postseason?

The Los Angeles Dodgers are the first team to clinch a postseason berth.

For the eighth consecutive season, the Los Angeles Dodgers will be part of the MLB postseason.

By defeating the division rival San Diego Padres 7-5 on Wednesday afternoon, the Boys in Blue improved to 35-15 on the year. With 10 games left in the season, the Dodgers’ magic number to win the NL West yet again is now seven. While it’s fun to get into the dance, it’s about what you do at the dance. Will the Dodgers be just attending this year or will it be a most magic ball for them?

Will the Dodgers finally do what they need to do and win the World Series?

Though having an expanded playoff field is fun for most teams, it actually hurts the Dodgers more than anything. Though they’re projected to be the No. 1 seed in the NL and will host the second NL Wild Card team at home in a best-of-three series, they’d face the winner of the No. 4 vs. No. 5 series. It’s projected to be the Padres at No. 4 and the second-best second place finisher at No. 5.

Though some No. 5-seeded team like the Miami Marlins, the Philadelphia Phillies or the St. Louis Cardinals could advance to the NLDS to face the Dodgers in a best-of-five, it’d be shocking for us to get anything other than a No. 1 Dodgers vs. No. 4 Padres matchup in one of the NLDS this fall. The Padres have the second-best record in the NL, and this could be an issue for the Dodgers.

On the other side of the NL postseason bracket, there will be teams like the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves and the NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs. Atlanta has a great offense, but my god, is that starting rotation terrible. Chicago got off to a hot start, but has cooled down considerably in the second half of the 2020 MLB season. One of those two teams probably gets to the NLCS.

It sounds kind of silly to be honest with you, but aren’t the Dodgers better served to fall to the No. 2 or No. 3 seed than getting “home-field advantage” for a neutral-site World Series without fans? No, they can’t make the Braves or the Cubs magically play better in the final two weeks of September, but not having to play the Padres in the NLDS would be the ideal outcome here, right?

What’s really troubling about the Dodgers this season is they are the only team in the NL that faces huge postseason expectations. Yes, you could say the Braves need to advance at least one round and probably to the NLCS for the first time since 2001, but that rotation is trash and we know what happens in Choketober down in Braves Country. Nobody else faces any real pressure.

Teams like the Marlins, Padres and Phillies would be ending major postseason droughts. Getting in this year doesn’t mean as much as it normally would, but that’s still a big accomplishment for those three ball clubs. Maybe there is some pressure on the Cubs or Cardinals to advance a round, but they don’t face nearly what the Braves do and certainly not what the Dodgers are up against.

Next: MLB could keep expanded postseason beyond this year

Though it is exciting to know you’re going to the postseason with 10 games left to be played, nobody is going to give a damn that the Dodgers clinched first if they don’t win the NL pennant. Normally, just getting to the NLCS would suffice because winning in October is so hard, but the Dodgers have spent enough time playing ball in recent Octobers to go win a freaking World Series.

Congratulations on being the first team in, but all that matters is winning it all in late October.

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