It’s no secret that the Los Angeles Dodgers (43-23) hold the majors' best record. They have been in first place in the NL West for 66 consecutive days and have a nine-game lead over the San Francisco Giants.
In fact, they are three and a half games better than the Boston Red Sox, who are the second best team in the big leagues and the only other team with a winning percentage above .600.
Amidst a season filled with mediocre teams looming around .500, the Dodgers have also managed the second best record in franchise history through 66 games. In 1983, the team also started 43-23, and in 1971, the club was one game better at 44-22.
The big question that lingers is whether or not the frenetic pace will hold true for the remainder of the season. Fortunately, we can go to the numbers and the schedule to find out what lies ahead.
Currently, the Dodgers’ winning percentage is .662. If they kept up that pace, we would see them go 107-55. They are also on pace to win 57 games at home.
They do have a surprisingly favorable schedule for the final three and a half months of the season. Out of 29 series total, 18 of those are against teams that currently sit below .500.
It’s well documented that Los Angeles has done their early season winning mostly without slugger Manny Ramirez in the order.
Although Juan Pierre has done an exceptional job filling in for Ramirez, Pierre is hitting just .236 in the month of June. The team has maintained in the absence of Ramirez, staying consistent with a 22-14 record since Manny’s suspension began.
One could only expect that the addition of Manny will infuse the lineup with a dose of power it has been severely lacking. The Dodgers have hit just 46 home runs, which ranks 27th in the majors.
Even the biggest Dodgers’ fan doesn’t anticipate this scorching rate of winning to continue. But just how good can we expect the Dodgers to be by the end of the season?
I decided to have some fun and crunch the numbers to project how the Dodgers will finish out the ’09 campaign.
Lets find out:
*All opponents’ records are as of Jun. 17.
*Dodgers’ projected record is based on winning percentage against opponent in previous games this season, and for the final 11 games of June, the Dodgers are projected to go 9-3. This would bring their record to 52-26 entering July.
The Dodgers will be tested around the All-Star break. They start a nine-game road trip in close-by San Diego, but venture east for three against the Mets and three with the NL Central leading Brewers.
They will have to capitalize on a crucial 10-game home stand where they will see the Astros (who took two of three from the Dodgers in Houston in late April), the Reds (boasting NL ERA leader Johnny Cueto,), and the Marlins (17-16 on the road).
Throw in a four-game series in St. Louis following that stretch and July is sizing up to be a challenging month for the Dodgers.
Opponents’ record: 290-292 (.498)
Dodgers’ projected record: 13-12
Dodgers’ cumulative record: 65-38
The Dodgers get little chance to catch their breath this month. The month begins with wrapping up three games at Turner Field in Atlanta, and then Prince Fielder brings his posse to Hollywood for what coudl be a possible playoff preview.
They finally get back to divisional play this month with the Giants and D-Backs, whom they are 11-6 against. They also head to Coors Field, where they swept the Rocks (behind the managing styles of Clint Hurdle, not Jim Tracy), and have an 8-1 record against Colorado this season.
The big bonus to the month of August is that, as mentioned, the Brewers come to LA, and so do the Cardinals and Cubs. The Dodgers are 24-10 at home this season, which will help them build momentum against three tough NL Central teams.
Opponents’ record: 260-257 (.502)
Dodgers’ projected record: 18-11
Dodgers’ cumulative record: 83-49
The Dodgers will have a chance to beat up on the NL West throughout the entire month. They face divisional opponents 21 times from Sept. 1 forward and so far in ’09, they have posted a 26-10 record against division opponents.
A home and away series with the rival Giants will surely be the highlight down the stretch. The Dodgers will need to be careful of the monumental shift that could occur in the standings if those series don’t turn out well (just ask the Mets). I have a suspicion that Joe Torre will have the guys ready to go, though.
Despite ending the season playing nine of the last twelve games on the road, all of those games will be against teams that are currently below .500. Two of those teams are the Nationals (who could potentially be setting the record for most losses in a season) and the Pirates.
Opponents’ record: 170-218 (.438)
Dodgers’ projected record: 20-10
Dodgers’ cumulative record: 103-59
These projections for the final months of the season would put Los Angeles at 103-59, which would leaves them two wins shy of the ’53 Brooklyn Dodgers for most wins in franchise history.
No other team is on pace to even win 100 games.
Now, I realize that in the end it doesn’t make a difference what their final record is for the regular season. A team’s greatness is judged on postseason success and their ability to win the pennant.
I simply wanted to illuminate the kind of dominating pace the Dodgers have played at throughout the entire first half of the season.
In a year when there are 12 teams within three games, plus or minus, of .500, and two more within five, Los Angeles has been able to separate from the pack of mediocrity.