Los Angeles Dodgers Clinch National League West with 7-6 Victory over Arizona

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistSeptember 19, 2013

After a miserable start to the 2013 MLB season, the Los Angeles Dodgers completed their turnaround by clinching the National League West crown with a 7-6 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Dodgers announced the news via Twitter:

The team also produced this Vine of the celebration:

Hanley Ramirez led the Dodgers to victory with two home runs, and A.J. Ellis' solo shot in the eighth inning gave L.A. the decisive lead.

The Dodgers celebrated after the game with their own kind of pool party:

Tim Federowicz weighed in following the win:

The squad had been extending the division lead for much of the second half of the year, but the latest victory puts the Arizona Diamondbacks mathematically out of reach.

The Dodgers are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2009, when they lost to the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League Championship Series.

While Los Angeles has been quite impressive since the All-Star break, a division crown seemed extremely unlikely at the start of the year. After a loss on June 21, the squad fell to a season-low 12 games under .500 at 30-42. 

At that point, the team stood in last place in the NL West and 9.5 games behind the first-place Diamondbacks.

However, the Dodgers got a major spark thanks to the tremendous hitting of Hanley Ramirez and Yasiel Puig, who would both be competing for a batting title if they had enough at-bats to qualify.

Still, the strength of the team is the pitching staff, which ranks third in the majors in team ERA this season with a 3.33 mark. The starting rotation leads all of baseball in the category, led by Cy Young favorite Clayton Kershaw. With Hyun-jin Ryu, Zach Greinke and Ricky Nolasco all putting together above-average seasons as well, the Dodgers will remain an incredibly tough team to beat in the postseason.

Clinching the division this early also gives the squad a chance to rest key players and get a head start on preparing for the playoffs. 

While top teams like the Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals, among others, will provide a formidable challenge, Los Angeles has as good of a chance as any to win the 2013 World Series.

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