The clock is ticking on the Los Angeles Dodgers’ streak of eight straight division championships. With four games left in the 2021 MLB regular season, the San Francisco Giants have a two-game lead on the Dodgers in the NL West.

It’s unlikely, though not impossible, that the Dodgers will move past the Giants in the standings before the playoffs. 

After hosting the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday, San Francisco ends the season with three games at home against the San Diego Padres. The Dodgers host the Padres Thursday before hosting the Milwaukee Brewers in their final series. 

San Diego has collapsed since the middle of August, going 11-31 to fall out of contention. The Dodgers hit four home runs in the eighth inning to beat the Padres 11-9 Wednesday night, handing San Diego its 10th loss in 11 games.

The Giants shut out the Diamondbacks 1-0 Wednesday to win their fifth straight game. San Francisco is 16-2 against Arizona this season. The Diamondbacks have the worst record in MLB.

San Francisco's magic number to clinch the NL West title down to three. That means any combination of three San Francisco wins or Los Angeles losses would put San Francisco in first place for good.

If the Dodgers win their final four games, they’d need the Giants to go no better than 2-2 down the stretch to stay alive in the division race. A 3-1 record for Los Angeles would mean San Francisco couldn’t go better than 1-3.

Winning exactly two more games than the Giants over the next four would give the Dodgers and the NL West leaders the same record through 162 games. To break the tie, San Francisco would host Los Angeles in a 163rd game Monday to determine the division winner. 

The second-place finisher in the NL West will host the St. Louis Cardinals in the wild-card game Wednesday, Oct. 6. The NL West champ will earn home-field advantage throughout the postseason and face the NL Wild-Card Game winner in the NLDS.

The Dodgers have only gained one game on the Giants in the standings over their last 53 games, despite going 40-13 during that stretch.

With 102 wins, the Dodgers are 14 games ahead of the Cardinals in the wild-card standings. Los Angeles has the second-best record in baseball and four more wins than the AL-leading Tampa Bay Rays.

Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers Photo: Getty Images | Rob Carr