Kershaw, Dodgers beat Rockies 6-1 for 111th victory

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES – In a season of gaudy numbers, two sets stand out for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

They finished with their 111th victory to become the National League’s winningest team in more than a century, and Freddie Freeman and Trea Turner each totaled 100 RBIs.

“This team’s in elite company for the regular season,” manager Dave Roberts said after a 6-1 win over the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday. “But we still know the most important part of the season is yet to come.”

At 111-51, the Dodgers ended the regular season 60 games over .500.

“Winning 100 games is crazy. The fact that we won 111 is wild. It’s really hard to do,” Turner said. “We just kind of kept chugging along.”

Clayton Kershaw tuned up for the postseason with nine strikeouts. Turner hit a tiebreaking three-run homer in the fifth inning for the NL West champions, who became the NL’s winningest team since the 1906 Chicago Cubs went 116-36.

“It is mindboggling,” said Freeman, who joined the Dodgers in March from Atlanta. “You got to be good from start to finish.”

Kershaw reached 2,807 career strikeouts. He allowed one run and one hit in five innings and walked one as the Dodgers ended a three-game skid.

“We all were rooting for Freddie to get to that 100-RBI mark, the same with Trea,” Kershaw said.

The Dodgers have already clinched the overall No. 1 seed in the postseason and will have home-field advantage throughout. They open the Division Series on Oct. 11 against the New York Mets or San Diego.

“The first tournament’s over. Now the big tournament starts,” Freeman said. “No one cares what your numbers were, how many wins you had. Starting Tuesday, it’s first one to 11.”

The Rockies were held to two hits for the fourth time this season and finished 68-94, equaling their most losses since 2015. They were even worse than their mark of 74-87 in 2021.

There was drama within an otherwise meaningless game.

Freeman made a run at overtaking Jeff McNeil of the New York Mets for the NL batting title. Needing to go 4 for 4 to catch McNeil, Freeman doubled and homered in his first two at-bats, but a flyout to the warning track in center field in the fifth ended his hopes.

Freeman hit .325 for the season, McNeil finished at .326 after not starting the Mets’ rain-delayed finale against Washington.

“I was close,” Freeman said. “I gave it a run.”

Freeman finished with 199 hits. He and Turner became the first Dodgers teammates to reach 100 RBIs since Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp in 2009.

“Counting stats are kind of overlooked now because everyone is about efficiency, but you got to play every day to get some of those counting numbers,” Turner said. “You got to be healthy, you got to grind it out all year long, up, down, night game to day game, whatever it may be. Those kind of stats are still important to me and I know Freddie likes them as well.”

Freeman’s 393-foot drive to left tied the game 1-all with two outs in the third. He singled in a run in the seventh.

Turner’s three-run shot to right-center chased Chad Smith (0-1) and gave the Dodgers a 4-1 lead. It snapped an 0-for-5 skid for Turner, who added a single in the seventh to boost a batting average that had dropped in recent weeks.

Cody Bellinger added a solo shot leading off the seventh against Noah Davis, who was making his major league debut.

Colorado’s Ezequiel Tovar hit his first major league homer with two outs in the second.


Dodgers: OF Chris Taylor (neck) worked in the batting cage. “I’m expecting him to be on the postseason roster,” Roberts said. … RHP Blake Treinen (right shoulder tightness) and RHP Dustin May (lower back tightness) had simulated games. Treinen faced three hitters and will do so again in a few days. May threw two up-and-down innings and Roberts called it “very encouraging.”


The Dodgers drew 3,861,092 fans at home this season, second-highest in team history. Only the 3,974,309 in 2019 was better, in the last season before COVID-19 restrictions were in place.


Rockies: Open spring training against Arizona on Feb. 25.

Dodgers: Have five days off before the Division Series at home Tuesday against either the New York Mets or San Diego Padres.

Royals’ John Sherman optimistic about new ballpark, current team

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The first thing that Kansas City Royals owner John Sherman thinks about when he wakes up each morning is how the club, stuck in what seems like an interminable rebuild, will play on that particular day.

Not where they will play four or five years down the road.

Yet given the modest expectations for a team that lost nearly 100 games a year ago, it makes sense many Royals fans are just as interested – quite possibly more so – in the plans for a downtown ballpark than whether infielder Bobby Witt Jr. can double down on his brilliant rookie season or pitcher Brady Singer can truly become a staff ace.

That’s why Sherman’s second thought probably moves to the downtown ballpark, too.

“This is a huge decision, and I look at it as maybe the most important decision we’ll make as long as we have the privilege of stewarding this team,” Sherman said before the Royals held a final workout Wednesday ahead of opening day. “I’m probably as anxious as you to get moving on that, but it’s a complicated process.”

The Royals have called Kauffman Stadium home since the sister to Arrowhead Stadium, the home of the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs, opened 50 years ago next month.

And while most stadiums are replaced because they have become outdated, the unique, space-aged look of Kauffman Stadium – built during an era in which teams trended toward impersonal, multisport concrete donuts for their homes – remains beloved by Royals fans and visitors alike.

The problem is that despite numerous renovations over the years, the very concrete holding the ballpark together has begun to crumble in places. The cost simply to repair and maintain the ballpark has become prohibitive.

So with the decision essentially made for them to build an entirely new stadium, the Royals revealed plans to build an entire development in the same mold of The Battery Atlanta, where the Braves built Truist Park, and the Ballpark Village in St. Louis, where the new Busch Stadium is merely the centerpiece of a whole entertainment district.

No site has been secured, but several of the most promising are in downtown Kansas City, where the Power & Light District along with T-Mobile Center have spearheaded a successful era of urban renewal.

Sherman has said that private funds would cover the majority of the stadium cost and the entire village, each carrying a price tag of about $1 billion.

But if any public funding will be used, as it was to build and maintain Kauffman Stadium, then it would need to be voted upon, and the earliest that it could show up on a ballot would be August.

“You look at Atlanta, they took some raw ground – they started with 85 acres – and that has been a complete home run,” said Sherman, who purchased the Royals in August 2019, shortly before the pandemic wreaked havoc on team finances.

“This is one of the reasons we want to do this: That’s helped the Braves become more competitive,” Sherman said of the vast potential for increased revenue for one of the smallest-market teams in baseball. “They have locked up and extended the core of their future, and the Braves are in a great position from a baseball standpoint.”

So perhaps the first two thoughts Sherman has each day – about performance and the future – are one and the same.

When it comes to the team itself, the Royals were largely quiet throughout the winter, though that was by design.

Rather than spending heavily on free agents that might help them win a few more games, they decided to stay the course with a promising young roster in the hopes that the development of those players would yield better results.

In fact, Sherman said, the club has been discussing extensions for some of the Royals’ foundational pieces – presumably Witt, who was fourth in voting for AL rookie of the year, and Singer, who was 10-5 with a 3.23 ERA last season.

“We’re having conversations about that as we speak,” Sherman said. “We have a number of young players that we’re trying to evaluate and we’re talking to their representatives about what might work.”

Just because the Royals’ roster largely looks the same, that doesn’t mean nothing has changed. The Royals fired longtime general manager Dayton Moore in September and moved J.J. Picollo to the role, then fired manager Mike Matheny in October and replaced him with longtime Indians and Rays coach Matt Quatraro.

Sherman said the new voices created a palpable energy in spring training that he hopes carries into the regular season.

“When we acquired the team, we had three primary objectives,” Sherman said. “One was to win more games; we’re working on that. The second was to secure the future; that’s what (the stadium) is. And the third was to do good in the community.

“But the first priority,” he said, “is really the on-field product. That’s what really lifts everything else up.”