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The Dodgers’ Historic April Offense, By the Numbers

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 27: Chris Taylor #3, Alex Verdugo #27 and Cody Bellinger #35 of the Los Angeles Dodgers high five in the outfield after defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates in the ninth inning of the game at Dodger Stadium on April 27, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

In March, I wrote an editorial emphasizing the 2019 Dodgers should win at a brisk clip in April, rather than their traditionally sluggish start in recent year. Thankfully, they have done just that. With their 19th victory on Sunday, they won their most games in March/April since the 2012 team took 16…and that team didn’t even make the playoffs. Excluding the first three wins in March, April 2019 matched the 2012 tally of 16. That means the 2019 Dodgers had a better April than every other team of this contention window, even the 104-win 2017 juggernaut.

To boot, April 2019 wasn’t just better than every other playoff team from 2013 on. It’s the second-best April in 61 years of the franchise’s operation in Los Angeles. That means they had a better first month than all 5 L.A. championship teams in 1959, 1964, 1965, 1981 and 1988. The only better April came from the 1984 team at 17-8, which didn’t even make the postseason that year.

After completing the sweep of Pittsburgh, the Dodgers’ 19 wins for March and April even brought them close to the Los Angeles record for wins in a single month, 22. They managed that mark in September-October 1965 and a second time in September-October 1991.

Opening With a Bang

The volley of record-setting feats started in the very first game of the season. In only 9 innings, the bats made mind-blowing history by hitting 8 home runs, the most in MLB Opening Day history. It also tied the franchise record for homers in a game, set back on May 23, 2002 thanks primarily to Shawn Green’s 4 blasts that day.

Hottest Offense in Over a Century

Through their first eight games, the team scored a staggering 65 runs. That was the best offensive start for the franchise in such a stretch since the 1892 Brooklyn Bridegrooms, who scored 70 through eight games.

To put that in perspective, the last time the Dodgers scored that much to kick off the season:

  • The American League and the World Series didn’t exist yet.
  • Sliced bread, the vacuum cleaner, and the washing machine had yet to be invented.
  • Ty Cobb was five years old.
  • The rules for basketball were first published.
  • Ellis Island opened as an immigration center in New York City.

Bellinger Hits Three Marks with One Swing

This past Friday, Bellinger made two bits of history with one swing. With his first-inning home run, the Dodgers set an MLB record with 33 consecutive home games with a home run, breaking the mark set by the 1999 Colorado Rockies. At the same time, he set the modern-day record for total bases in March/April with 88, breaking none other than Chase Utley’s previous high tally from 2008.

As if that wasn’t enough, Bellinger helped the team reach another feat. They have homered in their first 14 consecutive home games, a tie with the 1962 New York Mets. Yes…the legendarily awful Mets of “Can’t Anybody Here Play This Game?” fame.

Of course, that’s just the beginning of Bellinger’s unreal April.

Total Home Runs

In April, the team hit 35 home runs. In just four games that opened the season in March, they managed 14, eight coming in the first game alone.

The franchise record for team home runs in a single month is 50, set in June 2017. If one chooses to count the span from Opening Day, March 28th to April 28th as a single month, that’s 49 total blasts, one short of tying that record. Considering the old mark of 49 by the 1953 Brooklyn squad held for 64 years, the 2019 offense’s technically matching it is incredible.

Even without including the March homers, though, April’s tally of 35 is still impressive, and relatively close to the top percentile in franchise history.

This is a really good baseball team, and there is still a lot of room for improvement. The dog days of summer should indeed be a fun ride!

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Written by Marshall Garvey

2 Comments

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  1. By watching the Dodger player comments, they are defeating themselves before the game even starts. They comment how San Francisco is not “hitter friendly.” They mean it’s not “homerun friendly.” They seem intimidated by not being expected to hit homeruns. They seem defeated before the game has even begun. Obviously Friedman thinking is seeping into their mind set.

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