Cody Bellinger began the 2019 season on a torrid pace, Justin Turner caught fire in August, and together they helped propel the Los Angeles Dodgers to a seventh consecutive National League West title.
Bellinger went 1-for-4 with an RBI in Tuesday’s clinching victory, and Turner was out of the lineup for a second consecutive game because of lingering left ankle soreness. He’s since missed three games and undergone an MRI.
Both were in the midst of the ensuing celebration, with much of their attention on the team’s rookies. Turner has been part of six of the Dodgers’ current seven-year reign atop the NL West, while Bellinger has enjoyed a division celebration in each of his three years.
Of course, that also means both have experienced the heartache of twice losing the World Series. Turner took the nigh to enjoy the Dodgers securing another division title but readily discussed the road that still lies ahead for the team, as seen on SportsNet LA:
“You set some goals for the team and this obviously the first step to achieving what we want to do: win another division title and make it to the postseason. We’re going to enjoy this, celebrate it, but there’s still a lot of work in front of us.”
The idea of celebrating the NL West title while also remaining mindful of the team’s overarching goal was also emphasized by Bellinger:
“I’m extremely blessed to be here, honestly. I wouldn’t want to be part of any other team; we had a lot of fun this year. There’s a lot more work to be done, we’re going to finish the season out strong, but we’re going to enjoy this moment.”
The Dodgers went into the season with a renewed focus and determination to avoid the sluggish start 2018 saw. They were the first team in baseball to reach 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 and 70 wins this season, and the first NL club to 80 and 90.
The 2019 team additionally became the fastest in L.A. history to clinch the NL West by doing so in their 146th game of the season and on Sept. 10.
The 1977 Dodgers wrapped up the NL West in their 151st game, and the 2013 club memorably clinched the NL West at Chase Field on Sept. 19, which previously held as the earliest date during the current seven-year reign.
Still on the table for this year’s team are the most wins in L.A. and franchise history — 104 and 105, respectively — as well as home-field advantage through the World Series. The Dodgers need 10 victories in their final 13 games to become the winning team in franchise history.