Winning the National League West title early allows the Dodgers to predict the first step of their postseason with some certainty.
The Dodgers are seeded No. 2 of the six NL playoff teams, behind the East champion Atlanta Braves and ahead of the Central champion, which will almost certainly be the Milwaukee Brewers thanks to a spectacular gaffe by the Chicago Cubs.
As the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds, the Braves and Dodgers have a bye in the best-of-three wild-card round and then retain home-field advantage in the best-of-five division series in a 2-2-1 Format. Should they advance to the NL’s best-of-seven championship series, the Dodgers would have home-field advantage against every opponent except the Braves in a 2-3-2 format.
The team with the better regular season record receives home field advantage in the World Series. Only the Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays among American League playoff teams have a better record than the Dodgers, and none have a better record than the Braves.
In the NL Division Series, the Dodgers will play the winner of the wild card series between the Brewers and the No. 6 seed, while the Braves will play the winner of the wild card series between the No. 4 and No. 6 seeds. 5 seeded teams.
The Philadelphia Phillies are pretty much a top wild card team or No. 4 seed. Five teams are fighting for the final two wild card spots, with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Miami Marlins holding a tenuous mathematical lead over the Cubs and Cincinnati Reds. The San Francisco Giants are still in contention, but only have a 13 percent chance of reaching the postseason. according to Fangraphs.
The Braves and Dodgers will be idle for five days after the regular season ends on October 1st, as all four division series are scheduled to begin on October 7th.
In the American League, the Orioles have an 80 percent chance of winning the East based on their recent rebound. The Rays, who are two games behind the Orioles, have a 20 percent chance of winning the division.
For seeding purposes, it doesn’t matter whether a wild card team has a better record than a division winner. While the Orioles and Rays will almost certainly have the two best records in the AL, the second-place team is locked in as the No. 4 seed as the top wild-card entry.
The Eastern champions enjoy home advantage through the ALCS.
Numbers 2 and 3 will be the Central champion Minnesota Twins and the West winner, in some order. The West remains a three-way battle between the Houston Astros, Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners, and all have better records than the Twins, who need a boost in the home stretch to reach the No. 2 seed and get a bye into the ALDS .
The final two wild card spots are also unclear, with the Toronto Blue Jays – the third-place team in the East – leading the Rangers and Mariners by a small margin and just one game behind the West-leading Astros. Three of these four teams will make it to the postseason.
The incentive for the Dodgers to win as many games as possible in the regular season is to secure home-field advantage in the World Series – which begins Oct. 27 – by finishing with a better record than the Orioles and Rays complete.
Plus, reaching 100 wins for the fifth time since 2017 by finishing 9-5 or better the rest of the regular season would be quite an accomplishment considering the Dodgers only had 100 or more games five times from 1900 to 2016 have won.
However, reaching triple-digit wins in the regular season is certainly not a guarantee of becoming a World Series champion. None of the Dodgers’ previous nine 100-win seasons since 1900 have resulted in a title – their 2020 World Series championship came after the pandemic-shortened 60-game regular season.
And in two seasons, the Dodgers didn’t even win the NL pennant, finishing second to the Giants in 1962 and ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals in 1942.
Dodgers 100 season wins since 1900
2022: 111-51, lost NLDS to the Padres
2021: 106-56, lost NLCS to the Braves
2019: 106-56, NLCS lost to Nationals
2017: 104-58, lost World Series to the Astros
1974: 102-60, lost World Series to the Athletics
1962: 102-63, second place in National League
1953: 105-49, lost World Series to the Yankees
1942: 104-50, second place in National League
1941: 100-54, lost World Series to the Yankees