L.A. Dodgers: Flirting with History

There isn’t a hotter team in the MLB than the Los Angeles Dodgers.  They are on one of the best winning stretches in history, winning 40 of their last 48—the best in 62 years, sincethe New York Giants did it in 1951.  The Giants had a slow start to their season, much like the dodgers of today, going 59 and 51 before they started their winning stretch.  Going 39 and 8 over the next 47 games improved their record to a final 98 and 59.  On that team, rookie of the year Willie Mays–on the Dodgers, rookie of the year hopeful Yasiel Puig.  The Giants historical stretch closed their season, the difference—the dodgers still have another month and a half of baseball.  When a team is this hot, they’re sure to be the favorite to win it all, right? Vegas seems to think so, with the bookmakers labeling them as such.

Dodgers Stats since the All-Star Break

MLB Best Record 22-3

Batting

1st in AVG .294

1st in OBP .354

2nd in total bases 391

2nd in runs 130

As for Puig—he’s 30 for his last 91 picking up 48 total bases and crossing the plate 19 times (leading the club in both stats since the break).  If they keep up the pace, he will be a key to their success and will most likely be on his way to a very prolific career.

Pitching

1st in ERA 2.25

1st in Runs Allowed 68

2nd in OBP 2.76

3rd in BAA .216

The stats show why they are having a historical season.  The stats show why they are now 7 ½ games ahead in the NL West.  But what do our eyes tell us? Exactly what the stats tell us.

The Dodgers are crushing the ball, and they are shutting opponents down with both pitching and defense.  All the signs are pointing to the dodgers as the team to win it all, the stats and our eyes are telling us the same thing – World Series – but something just doesn’t feel right.  The New York Giants were winners for sure, they actually made to the World Series by beating the Brooklyn Dodgers in a playoff thanks to a game winning home run by Bobby Thompson—but that’s another story. (http://www.baseball-almanac.com/boxscore/10031951.shtml)

Those Giants, now San Francisco, are all but out of the race for the NL west, being 17 games behind the Dodgers, but still haveseven more games to player spoiler in the west (Arizona is onlysix games back).  But no—No, no, no…that can’t happen…the Dodgers pass the stats and the eyes test—they ARE the hottest team in baseball. They’ll put away past history’s pesky Giants and move on the World Series.

Yet still, it all feels too connected—too predetermined—too destined.

The last time a team was this hot, they did make it to the World Series, but how did that 39-8 New York Giants team fare in the end?

Baseball has always been a superstitious sport—see the Curse of the Bambino or Wade Boggs eating chicken—but is any of it true?  Will our eyes and the stats prove to tell the tale for this red-hot L.A team? Or is there something bigger at work?

D. Ewing

Analyze-It Baseball Guy

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