After a brouhaha with the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday evening where the Dodgers bullpen squandered yet another game, and closer Archie Bradley had some words with the Dodgers’ dugout, the Boys in Blue rebounded and collected yet another series win.
The Dodgers now lead the NL West by 19 games on August 12th. Their magic number to clinch the division is 25, and they are on pace to clinch the division the first week in September.
With that win, (and a walk-off win for the Baltimore Orioles against the Houston Astros), the Dodgers regained the best record in the Major Leagues at 79-41, a .658 winning percentage. The Astros and Yankees are tied at 77-41, for a .653 wining percentage.
Los Angeles is 48-16 at home, and 13-1 in home day games. They are 12-4 over their last 16 games.
It was their 25th series win of the season. The starting rotation pitched 20 scoreless innings, and allowed only 12 hits across those three games. The Dodgers rotation as a whole, through their last cycle through, allowing just two earned runs in 30.2 innings of work. And that was with Hyun-Jin Ryu on the IL.
For his part, Ryu’s numbers are incredible. After seven shutout innings against the DBacks on Sunday, Ryu has lowered his ERA to 1.45. Just one bad outing in Colorado has let him from having an ERA that is close to 1.00. At Dodgers Stadium this season, he has a 0.81 ERA, allowing only seven earned runs over 77.2 innings. He’s only allowed two earned runs at Chavez Ravine since May 7th.
Ryu isn’t having a historic season by blowing the ball by batters or missing bats. He’s doing it with finesse and pitching to contact. He’s struck out only nine batters in his last 19.2 innings, but has allowed only one run.
In the world of advanced metrics, Ryu is having the second best season since 1901 according to ERA+, which adjusts and accounts for ballpark and opponents’ averages. He’s second to Pedro Martinez‘s historic 2000 season. Pedro’s ERA+ was 291, and Ryu is currently sitting at 284. His ERA- is first all time at 34.80, ahead of Pedro’s which was 35.32 in 2000.
While some talking heads believe the Nationals have the best starting rotation in the NL, the Dodgers have three pitchers (Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler and Ryu) in the top 12 in the Majors in ERA, and those same three at top eight in the Majors in WHIP, with Kershaw’s being the highest of the three at 1.04.
On the offensive side, Justin Turner is heating up at the right time. He had two homers in Sunday’s game, his second two homer game of the season, and ninth of his career. He lead the team in offense over the weekend, going 7-for-22 with two homers, four extra base hits total and five RBI. He had 15 total bases, four runs, three walks and a 1.082 OPS. He is quietly up to 19 home runs on the season.
Cody Bellinger hit his 38th home run of the season, and is now tied with Pete Alonso and one behind both Christian Yelich and Mike Trout for the Major League lead. While his average has fallen to ‘just’ .317, three of his last four hits have been homers.
The Dodgers have 42 games left in the season. If they go .500 over those games, they will still end the season with 100 wins. There are 12 series remaining, and only four are against teams with winning records (NYY, NYM, Atlanta and Tampa Bay). Chances are very good that they will finish with a win total well above 100.
While the World Series Championship is the ultimate goal, the Dodgers are once again having a great regular season and the numbers bear it out. They should also help lead the Dodgers to said Championship.