Back on June 22, I wrote an article showing that the Dodgers were on pace to be the worst team the franchise had seen since moving to Los Angeles. Since then, they’ve won 36 of 44 games, and here I am about to write with a straight face about if the team can win 100 games and challenge some of the organization’s records for best seasonal marks. (I can only assume they all saw my post that day and decided it was time to turn it around.)
No matter how many times we dissect it, I’m still not sure there’s any way to truly appreciate what we’ve seen over the last two months… except to realize if they had played that way since April 1, they’d be on pace to win something like 749 games this season. Oh, and they’ve taken two of three from one of the better teams in the American League, and have Clayton Kershaw on the mound tonight.
Anyway, let’s do some math. The Dodgers have played 116 games, and so they have 46 remaining. If they were to finish at their current .569 winning percentage, they’d end up at 92-70. But of course, that pace includes all of those dark times early on in the season when everybody was hurt and they had to bring back Jason Phillips and Chad Fonville. (Probably.)
So how about if they keep playing the way they’ve played over the last 44 games over the remaining 46? 36-8 is good for a .818 winning percentage, and that pace would give them a 38-8 record over the final 46, taking some rounding into account. Add 38 more wins to the 66 they already have, and that gets you a 104-58 record.
Dating back to 1884, the franchise has won 100 games five times, most recently when the 1974 team won 102 on their way to losing to Oakland in the World Series. That 102 represents the Los Angeles record — the 1962 club did it as well — but the Brooklyn version topped that twice, winning 104 in 1942 and 105 in 1953.
It’s important to remember, of course, that prior to 1961, baseball played just a 154 game schedule, which means that winning over 100 back then was far more impressive than it would be today. (If the Dodgers win 104 this year, they’d end with a .642 winning percentage; the 1942 team did so at .675… but didn’t even get out of the regular season, thanks to St. Louis’ 106 victories.)
Now as phenomenal as this has all been — and even taking into account that Hanley Ramirez and Matt Kemp should hopefully be healthier in September than they are right now — it’s probably not reasonable to expect an .818 run to continue for the remainder of the season. Or at least you’d think so, but then you look at the rest of the schedule, and it’s pretty favorable. After tonight’s finale with the Rays and three at home against Boston in two weekends, the Dodgers have only three more series against clubs with winning records. But that includes two against the reeling Diamondbacks, who may not be able to say they’re above .500 by the time the teams meet, and three games in Cincinnati, who dropped three of four to the Dodgers last month.
The Dodgers probably aren’t going to challenge the franchise record for wins, and they’re absolutely not going to best the 1942 team’s record for winning percentage. But 34-12, which is what they’d need to hit 100 wins, doesn’t seem all that unreasonable at this point… and the fact that we’re even discussing this less than two months after talking about their pace to set records for losses should be a pretty good indicator of just how absurd this has all been. I sure hope we’re appreciating it.