The Los Angeles Dodgers have one more regular-season game remaining before they finish the hefty appetizer that is the 162-game schedule and head to the main course of the playoffs.
Entering the Wednesday afternoon regular-season finale against the Colorado Rockies, there is nothing left to decide. Los Angeles (110-51) already has wrapped up its 10th consecutive playoff appearance, while Colorado (68-93) is locked into last place in the National League West.
The Dodgers will head into the postseason with home-field advantage through the World Series after clinching the best record in the major leagues. Los Angeles will open in the NL Division Series on Tuesday against either the New York Mets (100-61) or the San Diego Padres (89-72).
With three World Series appearances in the previous five seasons, including a title in the abbreviated 2020 season, the Dodgers have presented a championship-or-bust vibe as they have stormed to one of the best regular-season records in major league history.
So will anything less than a championship spoil what was an otherwise dominating summer?
"With how much we pour into this, I can't subscribe to (the theory) that there are 29 failures each year and one success," Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said on Spectrum SportsNet LA. "That being said, obviously we're heartbroken and devastated any year we don't win it all. But it's much more nuanced and gray for me."
There is one thing left to accomplish in the regular season, as the Dodgers can become the second NL team to win at least 111 regular-season games, joining the 1906 Chicago Cubs (116-36). Los Angeles has been stuck on 110 wins since Saturday, having dropped three consecutive games to the Rockies.
"I really hope the fans have enjoyed the show this year from this team, the way they have competed all year long," Friedman said. "It's been really fun to watch. I think we have the talent and the makeup and composition to win it all this year."
One of the main contributors to the decade-long run of postseason appearances will be on the mound Wednesday when the Dodgers give Clayton Kershaw (11-3, 2.30 ERA) his last start before the playoffs.
Kershaw, who will pitch in either Game 1 or 2 of the NLDS, is 4-0 with a 1.45 ERA in six starts since returning from a second injured-list stint caused by a back issue.
Kershaw pitched the opener of the current six-game series, when he went six scoreless innings vs. the Rockies on Friday. In 47 career starts against Colorado, he is 25-11 with a 3.43 ERA in 289 innings.
Already the first team to win back-to-back games against a 110-win team in major league history, the Rockies made it three straight with a 5-2 victory on Tuesday. Brendan Rodgers, Sean Bouchard and Randal Grichuk homered for Colorado.
The Rockies have held the Dodgers to a total of four runs over the past three games.
"It feels good to win, it does," Colorado manager Bud Black said. "Competitive people want to win. We have a lot of competitors in that room, so it feels good to win."
The Rockies originally were scheduled to have right-hander Chad Kuhl pitch in the season finale, but he went on the injured list Tuesday due to a right triceps strain. Right-hander Noah Davis was recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque.
Colorado is now expected to go with a bullpen game on Wednesday. The Rockies' bullpen has not given up a run over nine innings during the three-game winning streak.
--Field Level Media