The dog days of Summer and the slow games of September have passed. October baseball is here, and the Los Angeles Dodgers now begin the sprint toward their highly anticipated 3rd consecutive World Series appearance. So far, this 2019 Dodgers team has played the season like a veteran runner tackles a marathon, with poise and strategy.
Looking back on this season, it seemed as though the Dodgers had a plan from the get go. They established control of 1st place in April, grew that lead to 8.5-games by the end of May, 12 by the end of June, 15 by the end of July, and then managed to maintain a 21-game lead from August 24th until the end of the season.
The Dodgers have won a franchise record 106 games.
— Dodger Insider (@DodgerInsider) September 29, 2019
Like a marathoner sets a consistent pace, the Dodgers did the same. They opened up March/April baseball with a 20-12 record (.625 W-L%) before hitting a good stride in May, going 19-7 (.731). The Dodgers hit a lull in June going 18-10 (.643) and then a more significant drop in July going 14-10 (.583). After the All-Star break hang over wore off though, the Dodgers began ramping up their play again going 17-11 (.607) in August and 18-6 (.750) in September.
Across the regular season the Dodgers went 55-26 (.679) in the first half and 51-30 (.629) in the second half. They had sole possession of 1st place in their division since April 17th, were 10-10 in Interleague play, and were 27-22 in one-run games.
Their largest losing streak? 6 games.
Their largest winning streak? 7 games… twice.
They didn’t get too high, nor did they get too low, they just played consistently good baseball.
After clinching the division on September 10th, the Dodgers did exactly what fans would like to see. They charged to the finish line, finishing the remaining 16 games going 12-4. They won their last 7 games which included sweeping their final road trip of the regular season. That sweep gave the Dodgers a franchise record, 106-win season.
This proved to be a stark contrast to seasons past. In 2018, it took the club 163 games to punch its ticket to postseason play. In 2017 they famously lost 11 games in a row from August into September before rebounding to finish the campaign going 12-6. Of course, that team went on immediately heat up in October before falling in 7 games to Houston.
If the regular season is a marathon, the Dodgers paced themselves well and gained a gradual, comfortable lead. With that comfortable lead they used the 26th mile to fine-tune technique while holding pace. They closed the season strong, beating the bad teams to cruise into October with some momentum. Tomorrow the Dodgers will put that momentum to use as they prepare to take on red-hot Washington Nationals fresh off of their Wild Card comeback win against the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Dodgers are no doubt marathoners. Tomorrow we get to see what kind of sprinters they are.