Sep 07

Can history repeat itself? Or does it just have a bad memory?

This pinch-hit post is dedicated to Wally Moon, whom I believe led the Dodgers in pinch hits in the 1960s. (It’s hard to figure accurately. Also, the Dodgers had bad pinch hitters at that time. They also had bad starting hitters for much of the decade too.)

So you’re thinking to yourself, have the Dodgers ever swept TWO series in San Francisco in one season? Isn’t that asking a lot?

Well, Sherman, let’s set the WABAC machine back to 2007. The Dodgers open the season by dropping two of three in Milwaukee. They travel to San Francisco and then Brad Penny, Derek Lowe, and Randy Wolf lead the Dodgers to a sweep from April 6-8.

The Dodgers returned to AT&T Park on July 13. The Dodgers won the first game easily, 9-1. Then the Dodgers survived a joint bullpen meltdown by Chun-hui Tsao (4 runs in 2/3 IP in the 8th) and Takashi Saito (walk to Bonds, who came around to score on a single by Pedro Feliz), to win 8-7 in 12 innings on a Rafael Furcal sacrifice fly. The Dodgers completed the sweep the next day, 5-3. The Dodgers were in first place by one game over the Padres with a 52-40 record.

When the dust cleared at the end of the season, the Dodgers were in fourth place, eight games out of first. The Giants were in last at 71-91. The Padres were in third place after losing a wild card tiebreaker to the Rockies, who finished behind Arizona. Does this seem like it should be familiar?  You mean we don’t all miss the Luis Gonzalez season for the Dodgers?

Prior to 2007, the last time the Dodgers had two series sweeps in San Francisco was 1977. In 1971, the Dodgers swept three two-games series in San Francisco (and still finished in second place behind the Giants.) The last time the Dodgers swept two series from the Giants at the Polo Grounds was back in 1953.

Surprisingly, the Giants have never swept two series from the Dodgers in Los Angeles. The last time the Dodgers were swept in two home series in one season by the Giants was 1938.

Most of this information does not indicate one team’s superiority over the other, but more just how the schedule was laid out in a particular season. When both teams were in New York, the Dodgers and Giants would play series of varying lengths from one to five games, depending on a variety of factors.

When the schedule became a little more regular after the teams moved west, the Dodgers and Giants would battle each other to a draw most seasons. Since 1901, the Giants lead the alltime series against the Dodgers by just 17 games: 1105 Giants wins to 1088 Dodgers wins. The Dodgers lead in California by a margin of 492-465.

And if you’re really curious, the Dodgers best record against any NL team since moving west is a .580 winning percentage against the Montington Expationals. .592 mark against the Brewers. The worst is a .500 mark against the Cardinals.