Buehler’s present as Dodgers visit Giants
SAN FRANCISCO — The Los Angeles Dodgers celebrated clinching a playoff berth Saturday afternoon.
They hope to do the same for a division title Sunday.
The Dodgers (90-71) assured themselves of a sixth consecutive trip to the postseason Saturday with a 10-6 victory over the San Francisco Giants.
Los Angeles begins play Sunday tied with the Rockies for first place in the National League West after Colorado lost to Washington 12-2 later Saturday.
They’ll take the field Sunday with a meaningful game less than 24 hours after champagne was flowing following their clinching of no worse than an NL wild-card playoff berth Saturday.
“Everybody’s got their footprint on this season,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts boasted as he toasted the team after Saturday’s win. “We’re going to celebrate this victory, understanding we have a lot of important baseball ahead. But in this moment, everybody celebrates each other.”
As opposed to Saturday, when they had already showered and headed back to the hotel before the Rockies took the field, the Dodgers will get a chance to do scoreboard-watching on equal terms Sunday. All major league games have approximately the same starting time — a little after noon PT — on the final day of the regular season.
Should the Dodgers and Rockies finish tied atop the NL West, a one-game playoff would be held Monday in Los Angeles, with the winner advancing to the NL Division Series and loser playing Tuesday in the single-elimination wild-card game.
The wild-card game will be hosted by the NL Central runner-up — the Chicago Cubs or Milwaukee.
Buehler will take the mound on a roll, having allowed two earned runs in 20 innings of his last three starts.
He has faced the Giants three times in his career (one start), going 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA.
Buehler will face a Giants team that had its best offensive showing against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw on Saturday.
Hunter Pence contributed two doubles to a five-run, eight-hit Giants assault on Kershaw, who had never before in 43 previous starts allowed five earned runs against San Francisco.
Giants fans did not enjoy watching the Dodgers celebrate inside AT&T Park but appreciated the effort of Pence, who is being applauded on every at-bat in this season-ending homestand as if it’s his last in San Francisco.
The pending free agent has responded with seven hits in 21 at-bats this week, with two doubles and a home run. He also has scored five runs.
Pence has faced Buehler twice, recording a single and a walk.
Suarez hopes to duplicate an earlier effort against the Dodgers in his only appearance against them this season.
He shut out Los Angeles on two hits in six innings of a 2-1 road win in August but did not get a decision.
Suarez has not pitched nearly as well in September, going 1-3.
Also at stake Sunday is the winner of the season series. Each team has won nine times.