Getting swept by a division rival right on your heels in the standings was certainly bad for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Being shut out in all three games against the San Francisco Giants was epically, historically, comically bad.
The Dodgers were outscored 13-0 in the series, managing just 16 hits over the three games to see their three-game NL West lead evaporate to nothing. Per the Elias Sports Bureau, via ESPN's SportsCenter, this series was just the third shutout sweep of a first-place team in 40 years. The Mets swept the Phillies in 2010 and the Orioles swept the Red Sox in 1974; both first-place clubs failed to score a run the entire series.
Certainly, the series is one to forget for Los Angeles, but exactly how bad was it? A look back through Dodgers history shows how rare, and how terrible, this week has been.
This week marked the first time since 2007 the Dodgers were shut out in three consecutive games, losing on August 5 to Arizona and then dropping the next two games to Cincinnati on August 7th and August 8th. As bad as that was, that span of shutouts had an off day.
The last time the Dodgers were shut out in three games on consecutive days was 1966, when Los Angeles fell to Chicago on April 23rd and April 24th before losing to St. Louis on April 25th.
This is also the first time since moving to Los Angeles in 1958 that the Dodgers have been blanked in three consecutive games by the same team. (I could have gone back to Brooklyn too, but you get the point.)
While getting shut out three times in a row is uncommon, even being stoned on two consecutive days is something of a rarity in Dodgers history. Since moving to Los Angeles, the Dodgers have been shut out in consecutive games just 35 times, 20 coming at the hands—pitching arms, if you will—of the same team.
The San Francisco Giants have been involved in five of the Dodgers' back-to-back shutouts, tied with Houston, Chicago and St. Louis for second behind the Phillies, who have been involved in shutting out the Dodgers in consecutive games an astounding seven times since 1966.
The Dodgers have only been shut out in consecutive games eight times since 2000 (well, 10 if you count both sides of the three-game shutout runs this year and in 2007).
While the last few days were epically bad for Los Angeles, they weren't actually the worst in team history. One could make the case that 1969 had a worse run of games in late May, where the Dodgers were shut out on the 20th, 22nd, 23rd and 25th of that month. The only reason that run wouldn't be considered worse is because the Dodgers not only scored runs on May 21st (three runs) and May 24th (five runs), they won both those games.
In 1968, the Dodgers were shut out a whopping 23 times in the season, scoring one run or fewer in 56 games. Los Angeles was held scoreless in back-to-back games four times during that infamous "year of the pitcher," the most of any season since moving out west.
Still, not 1968 nor 1969 nor the last three days against San Francisco in 2012 can come close to being called the worst run in Dodgers history. That honor will forever go to the 1962 season, with three consecutive shutouts coming in the middle of an epic late-season collapse.
On September 26th, 1962, the Los Angeles Dodgers sat atop the National League standings by two games over the Giants with four games to play. The Dodgers proceeded to lose all four games, the final two of which saw Los Angeles putting up the big zero in the run column against the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Dodgers' collapse forced a three-game tiebreaker series between the Dodgers and Giants with the first game coming at Candlestick park in San Francisco. The Dodgers—for the third straight day—were shut out in the loss, falling 8-0 to the Giants with Sandy Koufax on the mound for Los Angeles.
The Dodgers did manage eight runs in a Game 2 win, including a walk-off sacrifice fly by Ron Fairly to even the series, but lost the final game of the three-game set after giving up four runs in the ninth inning to lose 6-4, crushing the hopes of the NL pennant.
As bad as the three losses to the Giants were this week, Dodgers fans, if you are old enough to remember 1962, this wasn't even close.