The other night, a writer I greatly respect noted that he didn't think the Dodgers were getting enough credit for just how special this season has been. On Tuesday, I was on a radio spot and was asked how the casual fan should be viewing the Dodgers right now and it just kind of all fell into place.
This is one of the greatest regular-season teams in baseball history so far.
Through 106 games, the Dodgers have won 75. You know who else started 75-31? The 1927 Yankees. No, seriously, I'm not kidding.
Here are the teams that had more wins through 106 games from 1913 (that's as far back as searchable data goes, unfortunately) to this season.
1998 Yankees: We remember them. They went 114-48 and won the World Series without facing elimination, sweeping the Padres in the Fall Classic.
1944 Cardinals: Led by a 23-year-old Stan Musial, the Cards would go 105-49 and take the All-St. Louis (Browns) World Series in six games.
2001 Mariners: Ichiro Suzuki (winner of the MVP and Rookie of the Year), Edgar Martinez and Bret Boone led this group to a record-tying 116 wins. They then lost in just five games in the ALCS to the Yankees.
1929 Athletics: Connie Mack's crew had Hall of Famers like Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Cochrane, Al Simmons and Lefty Grove. They finished 104-46, winning the World Series in five games.
1931 A's: Mack again with a similar cast of characters. They went 107-45, but lost the World Series in seven to the Cardinals.
No one else has started better than these Dodgers. In the expansion era, the Dodgers trail only the '98 Yankees and '01 Mariners.
That's an exceptionally special season.
It's not just the stars like Clayton Kershaw, Corey Seager and Kenley Jansen. It's the power surge from Cody Bellinger, Justin Turner's absurd slash line along with productive seasons from Yasmani Grandal and Yasiel Puig. It's Alex Wood morphing into an ace. It's an incredibly deep pitching staff that keeps absorbing injuries. It's a "next man up" type situation where seemingly a different guy serves as hero on any given night (see the Dodgers' team comment below for yet another example). It's the front office grabbing a somewhat high-priced rental to supplement everything in addition to adding two bullpen pieces. It's everything so far. It's just special.
Are we sure we are talking enough about this?
Of course, go back to the original statement and pay great attention to different emphasis.
This is one of the greatest regular-season teams in baseball history so far.
And therein lies the rub.
First off, there are still 56 games to play this season.
Next is the bigger issue.
The Dodgers have already been really good in the regular season with a lot of this group -- though not this good and not really close to all of this particular group. They've won the NL West four straight times. They just haven't gotten out of the National League yet. Twice, they failed to reach the NLCS in those four tries.
Overall, the Dodgers haven't won the World Series since 1988.
This all has to factor into the decision for Andrew Friedman, Farhan Zaidi and company to grab the Yu Darvish rental and leave as little to chance as possible. It's time to get the job done. Ultimately, they'll be judged this season on how they fare in the postseason, not how many games they win in the regular season. Ask the Mariners. No one mentions them in "best team ever" discussions despite their 116 victories.
In the meantime, though, that doesn't mean we have to ignore the greatness we're witnessing. It's an unreal regular season. So far.
|Kyle Farmer's walk-off double in his first career at-bat was (another) one of those moments where it makes you think "this is their year."||--||79-33|
|I really wish I felt better about the prospects for a good playoff rotation.||--||74-41|
|Whether it's Stephen Strasburg's elbow or Max Scherzer's neck, the only thing that matters now is being full strength heading into the postseason. Take your time with them, Nats, though I'm not worried about Scherzer.||--||38-77|
|14-3 since the break with no glaring holes on the roster now. (And, no, whatever you're about to type isn't "glaring," so back away from the keyboard).||--||47-65|
|I really like the upside on the Lucroy add. It's been weird to see him so lost offensively.||2||51-65|
|Loved the Sonny Gray trade, notably the two extra years of control. He's no rental.||2||72-42|
|Time for a "baseball is fun" reminder: On Monday, the Indians scored just two runs in 7 2/3 innings against Doug Fister. Tuesday, the Indians got seven runs in five innings against Chris Sale. Then again, I'm not sure the Indians or their fans would consider either result fun just yet.||2||60-53|
|Through just seven games, 20-year-old third baseman Rafael Devers is hitting .429/.500/.714. That'll play.||2||56-59|
|They need a full-strength Robbie Ray back for the stretch run, but Ray's head injury goes beyond the baseball impact. Tough spot for Ray, as he surely wants to help his team but needs to be careful.||3||52-61|
|Melky Cabrera was a sneaky-good addition there a day in front of the deadline. Time for one last run with the core of the championship.||1||47-68|
|Winners of four straight, the Mariners sit just 1 1/2 games out of the second AL wild card.||2||62-53|
|General manager Doug Stearns is to be commended for not going crazy in front of the deadline and staying more on a "big picture" plan. Even with a few additions (Sonny Gray, for one), the Brewers are unlikely to keep up with the Cubs. Stay the course on the rebuild that is going well.||--||61-51|
|Still within striking range (1 1/2 back of second AL wild card), but they've gotta stop this losing. Maybe the win Tuesday of the Astros is the start. The Rays had lost nine of 12 before that.||2||59-53|
|A franchise icon taking a shot at a manager probably doesn't bode well for the manager sitting 52-54 and 5 1/2 out of first, does it? Asking for a friend.||1||62-51|
|Ricky "Box of Chocolates" Nolasco has five quality starts in his last seven outings. In the two non-quality outings, he's coughed up 14 runs on 16 hits in 5 2/3 innings.||3||50-64|
|Four straight wins while Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman are not looking bad at all. Things are looking up. The trade deadline moves were still tough to understand, but I'm wrong a lot so I'll gladly just sit back and watch it happen again.||5||59-54|
|They are 1-7 against the Reds this season and 6 1/2 games out of first place. Do with that information what you will.||3||45-69|
|Edinson Volquez is gonna make $13 million to likely not throw a pitch, as he's undergoing Tommy John surgery Friday. Ouch.||5||50-64|
|Joey Gallo update: 202 average, 27 homers, 130 strikeouts in 293 at-bats. This is very promising.||2||50-63|
|We always hear people complaining about bad contracts from the owners' point of view. How about when the player completely outplays his deal? Justin Smoak is in the first year of a two-year, $8.5 million deal right now.||2||61-51|
|I don't envy the daunting task general manager Al Avila has in front of him. This situation seems like it'll take a while to rebuild.||3||43-72|
|That's now losses in seven of their last eight. They went from contenders to sellers in an awful hurry, but it's not all-too-surprising given the personnel. Give this new front office a chance.||3||58-54|
|The Padres have won five of their last six and sit just 10 games under .500. Given the roster, particularly the stripped-down payroll of the players still on the roster, it's pretty amazing.||3||64-52|
|Going back to my "even I can't pull this one off" sarcasm last week, I figured the Mets' streak was a short-term mirage. They've lost five of six since.||4||74-40|
|That's losses in 12 of their last 15, including a four-game sweep at the hands of the Phillies. The Braves were sitting exactly .500 before this stretch, too, so it really hurts.||9||69-46|
|Not being able to off-load free-agent-to-be Yonder Alonso in front of the deadline seems a tell-tale sign at how bad the market was for big bats. Surely the A's were gonna take even a small package for him. They outright admitted they're in a full-scale rebuild. Perhaps Alonso can be traded in August.||1||41-73|
|Young starter Luis Castillo's stuff looked particularly electric last time out. That's a good sign. He actually has a 3.13 ERA in his last five outings.||1||44-68|
|Since last week's rankings, they went 5-1. We'll give 'em a bump, even if it's likely to only be temporary.||2||63-50|
|The worst finish in the San Francisco history of the Giants was 62-100. These Giants are on pace to go 62-100.||2||56-57|
|Matt Davidson has two walk-off winners in a row and then exits injured the next game? That pretty well sums it up, doesn't it?||1||58-56|