Clinching the National League West title as early as they did enables the Dodgers to foresee the first step of their postseason with reasonable certainty.
The Dodgers will be seeded No. 2 among the six NL playoff teams, behind the East champion Atlanta Braves and in front of the Central champion, which thanks to a spectacular skid by the Chicago Cubs is almost certain to be the Milwaukee Brewers.
As the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds, the Braves and Dodgers are guaranteed a bye through the best-of-three wild-card round, then hold home-field advantage in the best-of-five division series in a 2-2-1 format. Should they advance to the best-of-seven NL Championship Series, the Dodgers would have home-field advantage against any opponent except the Braves in a 2-3-2 format.
The team with the better regular season record gets 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 seeded team while the Braves will play the winner of the wild-card series between the No. 4- and No. 5-seeded teams.
The Philadelphia Phillies are all but locked in as the top wild-card team, or No. 4 seed. Five teams are battling for the last two wild-card spots, with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Miami Marlins holding a tenuous mathematical edge over the Cubs and Cincinnati Reds. The San Francisco Giants remain in the hunt but have only a 13% chance of reaching the postseason, according to Fangraphs.
The Braves and Dodgers will be idle for five days after the regular season concludes Oct. 1 because all four division series are scheduled to begin Oct. 7.
In the American League, the Orioles’ recent surge gives them an 80% probability of winning the East. The Rays, two games back of the Orioles, have a 20% chance of winning the division.
It doesn’t matter for seeding if a wild-card team has a better record than a division winner, so even though the Orioles and Rays are almost certain to 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 East champion will enjoy home-field advantage through the ALCS.
The No. 2 and No. 3 seeds will be the Central champion Minnesota Twins and the winner of the West, in some order. The West remains a three-team battle between the Houston Astros, Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners, and all have a better record than the Twins, who need a surge down the stretch to gain the No. 2 seed and a bye into the ALDS.
The last two wild-card berths also are unclear because the Toronto Blue Jays — the third-place team in the East — leads the Rangers and Mariners by a small margin and trails the West-leading Astros by only a game. Three of those four teams will make the postseason.
The Dodgers’ incentive to win as many regular-season games as possible is to ensure home-field advantage in the World Series — which begins Oct. 27 — by finishing with a better record than the Orioles and Rays.
Also, attaining 100 victories for the fifth time since 2017 by going 9-5 or better the rest of the regular season would be quite an achievement considering the Dodgers won 100 or more games only five times from 1900 to 2016.
Reaching triple-digit wins in the regular season certainly is no guarantee of becoming World Series champion, however. None of the Dodgers’ previous nine 100-victory seasons since 1900 resulted in a title — their 2020 World Series championship came after the pandemic-shortened 60-game regular season.
And in two of the seasons, the Dodgers didn’t even win the NL pennant, finishing second to the Giants in 1962 and to the St. Louis Cardinals in 1942.
Dodgers 100-win seasons since 1900
2022: 111-51, Lost NLDS to the Padres
2021: 106-56, Lost NLCS to the Braves
2019: 106-56, Lost NLCS to the 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 the National League
1953: 105-49, Lost World Series to the Yankees
1942: 104-50, Second place in the National League
1941: 100-54, Lost World Series to the Yankees