Dodgers celebrated playoff berth 1 day early due to MLB error
It turns out the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrated their 10th straight postseason berth a little too early.
Los Angeles was thought to have become the first team to secure a playoff spot after beating the San Diego Padres 11-2 on Sunday. The team even received hats commemorating the occasion and had a small celebration in its clubhouse.
But due to a technicality relating to potential multi-team tiebreaker scenarios, it turns out the Dodgers didn't officially book their spot in the playoffs Sunday. MLB announced the mistake Monday, citing an internal error as the reason for the premature celebration, according to Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic. MLB Network's Alanna Rizzo first spotted the error Monday morning, and the league quietly corrected its standings shortly afterward.
At 96-43, the Dodgers hold a colossal 20-game lead over the second-place Padres and an eight-game edge over the New York Mets, who own the second-best record in the National League. L.A. can officially clinch as early as Monday with a win over Arizona.
If the season ended Sunday, the Dodgers would have a first-round bye. After that, they'd face the winner of a three-game series between the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies played entirely at Truist Park. The Braves are currently mired in a dogfight for NL East supremacy, though, sitting 1 1/2 games back of the Mets.
"I don't think it's anything you can take for granted," said Justin Turner, who hit a grand slam and a solo homer in the rout, according to The Associated Press. "I've been on some teams early in my career that didn't have this opportunity, so I definitely feel fortunate to be a part of an organization that cares about winning and puts winning first."
Turner began his career with the Baltimore Orioles in 2009 before joining the Mets the following season.
"It's a very smart group; it's a very focused group," added manager Dave Roberts, who's about to clinch his seventh playoff berth in as many seasons as the Dodgers skipper. "We have a long way to go to accomplish our goal. ... We just want to play good baseball."
Once the team officially clinches a playoff berth, Los Angeles will focus on officially wrapping up its 20th NL West title. In their current streak of playoff berths, the Dodgers have won eight division titles - coming every year between 2013 and 2020.
The San Francisco Giants were the lone interrupter, claiming the 2021 division crown with a franchise-record 107 wins. The Dodgers finished one game back with 106.
With a win percentage of .691 this season, L.A. is on pace to win 112 games. That would be the storied club's most victories in franchise history and its second-best win percentage behind only the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign, in which it went 43-17 en route to a World Series championship.
The 2001 Seattle Mariners and 1906 Chicago Cubs share the MLB record for most wins in a single season with 116. The Cubs boasted a .763 win percentage, playing 152 games and losing 36.