PHOENIX — OK – so now what?
The Dodgers have made a mockery of the National League West race. They went into Monday’s games with a 15½-game lead over the second-place Colorado Rockies (16 over the Arizona Diamondbacks). They even lead the Houston Astros by a thick eight games for the best record in baseball.
The Dodgers could go 21-30 the rest of the way and still win 100 games for the first time since 1974. They could go a disastrous 16-35 the rest of the way and the Rockies would have to win 31 of their final 50 games just to catch them.
Dodgers fans might be starting to line up for the championship parade. But the Dodgers still have 51 games to play – nearly a third of the season – before they can get on with the real business of trying to actually win that championship.
In the meantime, isn’t it going to be, you know, boring for them?
“No, absolutely not. Why would you say that?” Dodgers infielder Logan Forsythe said with a laugh. “Our approach all season has been to come to work each day and try to find a way to win a game that day. We don’t want to get away from that.”
Forsythe doesn’t see that slacking off just because the Dodgers have no reason to scoreboard watch and no one in different uniforms to keep the fire lit for them.
“I don’t think we will let that happen – because we don’t want it to happen,” he said. “We see how good we can be and we want to continue to be that good.”
Kenley Jansen sees it just as simply.
“I’m not worried at all,” he said. “We want to win every day. It’s so much fun to win.”
The Dodgers have had so much fun winning that they do have something to play for down the stretch – the major-league record for wins. At 79-32, the Dodgers are just one win behind where the 2001 Seattle Mariners and 1906 Chicago Cubs were after 111 games. Those teams finished with 116 wins, the most in major-league history.
The Dodgers would need to finish 37-14 to match that – a .725 winning percentage that would actually be a step back from the .769 pace (70-21) they have been on since Cody Bellinger made his debut on April 25.
The Mariners finished strong during their 116-win season, going 35-15 over their final 50 games – and then fell short of the World Series, losing to the New York Yankees in the ALCS.
Finishing the regular season hot or cold is not the issue, Dodgers left-hander Alex Wood says. It’s about maintaining what this team has established over four months now.