Flash back to the final week of August. The Los Angeles Dodgers were 50-plus games over .500 and had already piled up 90 victories, and the conversations were about record-breaking win totals and October parade routes through Los Angeles. Then everything changed.
The Dodgers had lost 11 straight games before snapping the nightmare streak with a 5-3 win in San Francisco on Tuesday. Now, entering? Wednesday’s matchup with the Giants (10 p.m. ET on ESPN & WatchESPN), L.A. is just five ?games ahead of the Nationals for the best record in baseball.
So what has gone wrong? We asked our experts to weigh in.
Which is the real version of the Dodgers: The team that rolled through the first five months, or the team stumbling through September?
David Schoenfield:?I’m a total wuss and will cop out on this question: I don’t know! They’re the only team to win 15 of 16 and lose 15 of 16 in the same season. We’re totally influenced by recency bias and they’ve played like the 1962 Mets of late, but they still have the best record in the majors, so I’ll lean in that direction.
Sam Miller: The Dodgers are a great team. They were a very good team on Opening Day, and then they called up Cody Bellinger, who is great, and Alex Wood earned a spot in the rotation, and he turned out to be great; and Chris Taylor broke out as a very good major leaguer. To that, they added Yu Darvish, who is pretty great. And Curtis Granderson, who is a very good major leaguer. Even if I didn’t know that this roster had snapped off the best 50-game stretch in history, and even if I didn’t know that this roster is on pace to win 104 games, or that Baseball Prospectus’ third-order winning percentage says this is one of the 15 or so best teams since 1950, I’d be able to tell they’re great. They’re not so great that we don’t have to bother playing the games, but no team ever is in baseball.
Sarah Langs: I think the real answer lies somewhere in between. We could tell by how overwhelming the stats were — the pace they were on and the numbers they were set to break — that it was probably not sustainable for a full season. Neither is losing over large stretches and notching win streaks not seen by the team since the 1940s. As it stands now, even with the recent slide, their starters’ ERA is top-five in the majors and the bullpen is top-five as well. Not the best, but not near the bottom of the league, where they’ve stood during the stretch.
What’s wrong with the Dodgers right now?