The Dodgers open their 60-game shortened-season schedule against the Giants on July 23. They surely will want to sprint right out of the gates in the most unusual baseball season ever. During their run of seven consecutive division titles, the Dodgers would have only won two division titles if the seasons would have ended after 60 games. Usually, the team starts hovering above .500 and then wears out their opponents later as the season progresses.
However, Dodger teams of the recent past have had incredible 60-game stretches, even going 51-9 during the 2017 season. In 2019, the team’s best stretch during 60 games was 43-17. During the first 60 games of last season, the Dodgers went 41-19. Manager Dave Roberts has recently said that every game will feel like a playoff game and that one game is now seemingly equivalent to three games.
A good chunk of the Dodgers schedule is against teams they are familiar with, as they are opponents within the division. There will be 40 divisional games, 20 being home and 20 being away. Each team will split opponents for 10 games, although the home and away splits are uneven. The remaining 20 games will be played against the American League West, which involves the annual freeway series against the Angels. It also pits the Dodgers against the Astros, which will be quite the showdown and could see a highly motivated Dodger team.
The Dodgers went 51-25 against division opponents in 2019. Their best record was against the Rockies going 15-4 and the worst against the Diamondbacks going 11-8. However, the Dodgers had winning records against all division opponents. The Angels, the only American League team on this year’s schedule that the Dodgers played last season, went 4-0 against the Dodgers.
The Dodgers made the biggest personnel splash in the NL West this offseason by acquiring Mookie Betts and once again stand as favorites to take the division. The only Dodger that has opted out of paying this season so far has been David Price. There are still numerous Dodgers who have not reported to camp, including Gavin Lux, Pedro Baez, and Kenley Jansen.
The Dodgers only play 10 games against opponents who last season were playoff teams. Those games are both against American League teams—the Houston Astros and Oakland Athletics. They will play six games against Oakland, three at home and three away. They will also meet the Astros for two games at Dodger Stadium and two games in Houston.
As we all know, the Dodgers have great depth which is one of their many advantages. The roster features great pitching and an outfield that has two potential MVPs. Lately, the Dodgers have been preparing for the season by holding intrasquad games. By the time the regular season begins, the Dodgers look to be ready.
The Dodgers should definitely win more than 35 games—the number that will probably be around the minimum to get in the playoffs. Barring any injury or coronavirus infections to players, the Dodgers will probably hover around 40-45 wins, even though a monumental mark of 50 wins isn’t out of the question. Undoubtedly, the Dodgers have the talent to do it. The setting is just way too different than a regular 162-game season. But if one team can certainly reach that threshold, it could be the Dodgers.
Looking at division opponents the Dodgers should have winning records against all of them. In the American League the Astros, Athletics, and Angels could give the Dodgers a run for their money but the Dodgers could easily have winning records against them also.
The Dodgers season record I’m predicting—assuming everything goes right—is 45-15, a record that should get them in the playoffs. This number of wins will probably even be close to the mark for the best record in the league.
The Dodgers will have to take care of business in the regular season, but the goal remains the same. Anything less than a World Series will be a disappointment, even in this strange, abbreviated 2020 campaign.