We don’t usually give much love here at the OC Tribune to the Los Angels Dodgers, but as they won 43 of 50 games, well, that kind of performance demands attention. No team in big league baseball has done as well since 1912.
They are on a pace to win 114 games this year, which is two short of the all-time record. Folks are beginning to say this is the best Dodger team of all time (possibly) or even the best baseball team of all time (much more of a stretch).
Of course, winning a ton of games is not always the best predictor of which team ends up as the World Series champ. The 2001 Seattle Mariners won 116 games and were knocked out in the ALCS by the Yankees, who had won 21 fewer games. The 1954 Cleveland Indians won 111 games, but were swept in the Series by the New York Giants
As of Sunday morning, the Big Blue had a nearly insurmountable 14.5-game lead in the National League West. With the advent of the wild card, even an epic collapse like in 1951 when the (Brooklyn) Dodgers blew a 13.5 –game lead in the National League pennant race wouldn’t keep them out of the post-season play.
(Angel fans will remember how the Halos blew an 11-game lead in 1995 and got whipped 9-1 in a one-game playoff by the Seattle Mariners).
This is a team, which is loaded with talent, much of it peaking at the same time. The pitching staff is impressive, with a 3.09 ERA, which is almost unheard of in this era of long ball. Clayton Kershaw is a lock for the Hall of Fame (greater than Sandy Koufax) and yet his team has lost just one game since he went on the injured list on July 23.
Admittedly, the real L.A. team has been dining out on a lineup of less-than-stellar opponents. They haven’t faced a team that has a winning record in almost a month. But even so, they’ve done well, crashing 96 home runs in that 50-game string, with Cody Bellinger and Chris Taylor leading the hit parade.
The second week in August is a bit too early to start pouring the champagne, but if any team ever looked more ready to wear those big, gaudy rings in October, it’s these boys from Chavez Ravine.
After much anticipation – which pretty much began right after the Super Bowl – pro football is back. The Los Angeles Rams will host the Dallas Cowboys in a pre-season game this Saturday at the Coliseum at 6 p.m.
If that’s not enough NFL for you, the Los Angeles Chargers will also be in “town” this coming weekend, hosting the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday at the StubHub Center in Carson at 5 p.m.
Pete Zarustica writes Monday Morning Coach.