Austin Barnes: Dodgers Need To ‘Keep Playing Good Baseball’ After Clinching NL West

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The Los Angeles Dodgers once again own the National League West after clinching their 10th division title in the past 11 seasons, but there are roughly two weeks left in the regular season to finish out.

The Dodgers trail the Atlanta Braves by five games for the top spot in the NL and they’re seven ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers for the second seed in the playoff bracket. Their seeding is all but officially locked in and it wouldn’t be possible to set a franchise wins record, meaning they don’t have much left to play for.

They could take their foot off the gas and it effectively wouldn’t matter all that much, but Austin Barnes believes the Dodgers need to keep momentum heading into October, via Jack Harris of the L.A. Times:

“We just gotta keep playing baseball,” Barnes said. “When you take your foot off the pedal, it’s hard to turn it on and off. So that’s the biggest thing. Keep going. Keep playing good baseball.”

After clinching the NL West, the Dodgers lineup on Sunday consisted of all their backups and platoon players, including Barnes. Yet they didn’t miss a beat as Barnes and Jason Heyward led the offense to a 6-1 victory to complete the sweep.

The Dodgers now return to Chavez Ravine for their final homestand of the season, which includes a four-game set with the San Francisco Giants. The Dodgers also head up to the Bay Area to close out their season with another three games against their rivals.

The Giants are two games out of the final Wild Card spot, so every day has heightened importance for them, and it gives a chance for the Dodgers to make sure San Francisco does not make the playoffs.

But perhaps most important for the Dodgers is figuring out the best way to utilize their pitching staff and who will make their postseason roster. Although it’s presumed Clayton Kershaw, Bobby Miller and Lance Lynn will make up their NL Division Series rotation, they have multiple variables to figure out still and potentially one or two open roster spots.

Clayton Kershaw still appreciates Dodgers winning NL West

Although Clayton Kershaw has popped many champagne bottles as a division winner, he still considers it a moment to celebrate every time the Dodgers clinch the top spot in the NL West.

Perhaps it was made more special this season with lowered expectations and many considering the San Diego Padres to be the division favorites. The Dodgers also dealt with numerous injuries and struggles throughout the year that would’ve been too much for nearly any other team to overcome.

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