Dodgers Could Pass 1975 Cincinnati Reds, Become Earliest to Clinch Division

The Los Angeles Dodgers are on the verge of clinching their seventh consecutive NL West division title, and could break this 44-year record in the process.

Dodgers Clinch Kershaw
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

The 2019 Los Angeles Dodgers are a juggernaut.

They've held the best record in baseball for most of the season and currently hold the best record in the National League. The Dodgers have been in cruise control for most of the dog days, and are on the verge of clinching their seventh consecutive NL West division title. 

Another division title is certainly nice, but after two straight seasons of watching their opponent celebrate winning the World Series on their own field, the Dodgers have their sights set on lifting the Commissioner's Trophy this season.

Thanks to a rather weak division, the Dodgers have had the luxury of holding a 20+ game lead for the better part of the summer. Heading into their four-game series with the Arizona Diamondbacks last week, the Dodgers' magic number was nine.

The magic number is a combination of Dodger wins or opponent losses (in this case the Diamondbacks, second in the NL West) needed to clinch the division. With the two teams playing head-to-head, the Dodgers had the opportunity to lower that number to as little as one, had they swept Arizona.

Instead, the Dodgers dropped three of four games, despite holding a lead in every game of the series. That currently puts their magic number at seven entering their six-game homestand.

Los Angeles could clinch the division title as soon as this Friday. If so, they would set a MLB record for the earliest a team has ever clinched a division crown, surpassing the 1975 Cincinnati Reds who clinched the NL West over the Dodgers on September 7, 1975.

In order for that to happen, the Dodgers will need to sweep the Rockies and get some help from the rival Diamondbacks. Even if they don't beat the Reds record, they could still become one of the earliest teams to clinch their division in the Wild Card era.

Since 1995, the earliest team to clinch their respective division has been the Cleveland Indians on September 8, 1995.

After that, the 1998 New York Yankees, who won 114 games, are the second earliest team to clinch, accomplishing the feat on September 9, 1998.

Over the last four seasons, the first team to clinch a postseason birth or division title has gone on to win the World Series in three of the last four years.

The Kansas City Royals were the first team to clinch on September 24, 2015 and went on to defeat the New York Mets in the Fall Classic.

One year later, the Chicago Cubs became the first team to clinch their division on September 16, 2016, and erased a 108-year World Series drought by defeating the Cleveland Indians in dramatic fashion in seven games.

The 2017 Los Angeles Dodgers were prime candidates to eclipse the 1975 Cincinnati Reds record, but they spiraled to start the month of September, losing 16 of 17 games before finally clinching the division on September 23, 2017.

They arguably should have won the World Series that year as well, but the heavily favored Dodgers fell to the Houston Astros in seven games.

Finally, the Boston Red Sox became the first team to clinch a postseason berth in 2018, but the second to clinch their division after the Indians beat up on a meek AL Central. The Red Sox won a franchise record 108 games and defeated the Dodgers in the Fall Classic in five games.

The Dodgers will have the opportunity to surpass all of them this season, and join the list of teams who clinch first, and go on to win the World Series if they're able to finish the job come October.

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