Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

State of the Dodgers entering the playoffs, 1983-2013

For the first time in exactly 30 years, the Dodgers will enter the playoffs with a losing record after September 1. However, winning the final month of the season hasn’t been much help. Going into 2013, Los Angeles had winning records after September 1 in eight straight playoff appearances, but only one led to a World Series.

National League West champions by three games, 91-71, 14-16 in September/October. Clinched division in third-to-last game of season with 4-3 win over San Francisco, then lost final two games.
Playoffs: Lost National League Championship Series to Phillies. Game 1 was a 1-0 defeat at home (Steve Carlton over Jerry Reuss). Dodgers won Game 2, but dropped next two on road by 7-2 scores.

NL West champions by 5 1/2 games, 95-67, 21-15 in September/October. Clinched division with nearly a week remaining. Lost three of final four games.
Playoffs: Won first two games of NLCS at home against Cardinals, then lost next four, the final two on home runs by Ozzie Smith and Jack Clark.

NL West champions by seven games, 94-67, 17-12 in September/October. Clinched division with more than a week remaining. Lost four of final seven games.
Playoffs: Good.

NL West champions by one game, 78-66, 17-10 in September/October. Won seven of final nine games, took division lead with four games to go and hung on, finishing with two straight victories.
Playoffs: Swept in three games by Cincinnati (first two at home) in NL Division Series.

NL wild card team, finishing one game behind San Diego, 90-72, 16-11 in September despite losing final four games. Swept in final three-game series by Padres, the last two games after a playoff spot was clinched, losing finale in 11 innings, 2-0.
Playoffs: Swept in three games by Atlanta (first two at home, each decided by one run) in NLDS, thereby finishing the year with a seven-game losing streak.

NL West champions by two games, 93-69, 15-13 in September. Clinched division in second-to-last game of season with seven-run ninth inning against Giants, capped by Steve Finley grand slam. Lost season finale, 10-0.
Playoffs: Lost first two NLDS games on road at St. Louis, each by 8-3 scores. Won first playoff game in 16 years behind Jose Lima’s shutout, 4-0. Eliminated at home with 6-2 defeat.

NL wild card, 88-74, 16-12 in September finishing tied with San Diego but losing division based on head-to-head record. Won final seven games of regular season, including 19-11 victory in Colorado and two one-run victories in final three. Clinched playoff berth over Philadelphia on second-to-last day of season, but San Diego victory over Arizona on final day decided NL West title.
Playoffs: Swept in three NLDS games by New York Mets, losing first two on road, with two players thrown out at home on same pay in second inning of first game.

NL West champions by two games, 84-78, 17-8 in September. Three games under .500 when September began. Clinched division when Arizona lost fourth-to-last game of season. Lost two of three games after division was clinched.
Playoffs: As significant underdog, upset Cubs in NLDS with three-game sweep, outscoring Chicago, 20-6. Lost NL Championship Series in five games to Philadelphia. Key error by Rafael Furcal contributed to Game 1 defeat. Game 2 was the game that made Chad Billingsley famous. Hiroki Kuroda pitched Los Angeles to Game 3 victory at home, but in Game 4 came Shane Victorino and Matt Stairs.

NL West champions by three games, 95-67, 15-12 in September. Up six games over Colorado with seven to play, Dodgers gave up four runs in the bottom of the ninth at Pittsburgh to launch a five-game losing streak, before a 5-0 victory over the Rockies in second-to-last game of season clinched division and league’s best record. Dodgers won meaningless finale, 5-3.
Playoffs: Swept Cardinals in three-game series, including improbable ninth-inning comeback in Game 2. Lost to Phillies in NLCS in five games. After 11-0 defeat in Game 3, Dodgers had chance to even series before Jonathan Broxton allowed two runs in bottom of the ninth of Game 4.

NL West Champions by 11 games, 92-70, 12-15 in September. Began the final month 3-0, capping 53-13 (.803) run, then went 4-10 before clinching division September 19 with nine games remaining. Lost four of last five games.
Playoffs: Open five-game NLDS on road at Atlanta on Thursday.


Season finale chat


Bryan Stow struggles to remember what happened


  1. WinnipegDave

    That’s alright Colorado. I want the Dodgers to win their final game of the year too.

  2. scooplew

    Jon: Thanks for the review of playoff appearances over the past 30 years. In 1955, the Brooklyn Dodgers clinched the pennant on Sept. 8 and then went 6-9 the rest of the season, followed by losses in the first two games of the World Series in Yankee Stadium. But, we all know that they won the Series, four games to three.

  3. dalegribel

    Head to head, I’d take this year’s team over any of those listed. I would worry against the magic Manny brought, but the 2013 is the most solid top to bottom.

    • scooplew

      I think that the teams that won the pennant in 74, 77, 78 and 81 was stronger at the plate with a nucleus (during many of those seasons) of Garvey, Cey, Baker, Smith, Russell, Lopes, Monday and Yeager. We have better pitching this year, however.

  4. Branch_Rickey

    So as to my earlier comment about Kemp being out for the postseason… did you see him walk onto the field for the rally on crutches? Afraid it’s true. I love Kemp but he was not a big contributor to what this team has done so far. Would be nice to have him but he’s not high on the list of players we can’t afford to lose right now.

    • Sorry for doubting you, looks like he really is done. That’s a real bummer heading into the playoffs, he had looked real good. Crazy how a sore ankle turned into “I could break it if I play on it” and Kemp’s season over.

    • A lineup without Kemp and Ethier is hardly ideal. The fact that he wasn’t a big part of the regular season hardly rules out how big he might be in the playoffs.

      • WinnipegDave

        Win one for Beast Mode has a sad ring to it however.

      • Branch_Rickey

        If Ethier is out, losing Kemp certainly could be more meaningful. It just doesn’t feel like a “how are we going to win now” situation.

        • Spence

          The way to beat the Braves is to shut them out (which I think they’ve been shut out the 2nd most times in baseball). Not sure how to beat the Cardinals though without the bats.

      • Spence

        Dre’s the bigger problem. He gave the team 294/394/460 vs right handed pitching. Thats tough to replace.

  5. Spence

    When will the times for the Atlanta games be posted? I really hope they are night games and I’m not stuck at work while they are going on. But since its in the eastern time zone, they may start them earlier. I hope not.

  6. KT

    Well Matt Kemp done for the season…two surgeries

    • ASW1

      If Ethier were healthy then this wouldn’t be such crushing news, but now ?
      Now we get Skip Schumaker as starting CF – DOH !!!

    • Spence

      Shoulder and ankle. They better bring him back SLOW next season.

  7. KT

    According to Directv’s TBS guide our game October 6th will start at 5:30

    • RBI

      Let’s hope we’re up by two!

      • KT

        I’m meeting a guy who sent my dad a hello kitty bobble head and I got his ball signed by CC are you interested in meeting somewhere for a late lunch before the game?…place and time TBD

        • RBI

          Hey KT, not sure yet, but i will probably have to pass. I have four tix and am working out which family members are coming. I will let you know as soon as I do, okay? Thanks!

        • RBI

          KT, what time is the game? And where do i find game times?

  8. RBI

    I was at the game, which was pretty flat except for getting to wish Todd Helton well. I stayed after for a little while, and was thinking how subdued the Pep Rally felt. Then I saw Kemp on his crutches with my binoculars, and my heart just sank. This is such disappointing news. I just have to hold out hope that Shoe will dig deep and play and hit beyond his best. Punto, too. Hard to take, after all their work. The curse of injuries continues.

  9. RBI

    Faint silver lining. Michael Young looked fine at SS, and I like his at bats a lot.

  10. ASW1

    “State of the Dodgers entering the playoffs, 2013” just took an abrupt turn for the macabre.
    So much for Serendipity.

    Maybe we can squeak by the Braves and hopefully Ethier healthy for the NLCS?

    • DS1981

      baseball playoffs are so unpredictable and crapshooty that i wouldn’t be surprised if this team sweeps the braves or gets swept itself.

    • RBI

      We’re suddenly much more like “The Little Engine That Could” than an unstoppable train.

  11. How many injuries can one team have and continue to win? Look how mediocre the Dodgers were in September without Kemp, Ethier, and occasionally Ramirez. This ain’t good at all.

    • Branch_Rickey

      How many of those games did Mattingly field the strongest lineup available to hm?

    • DS1981

      It’s interesting, after the last 25 years where everything that could go wrong usually did, you would think the dodgers would be due for one of those seasons where everything goes right, but apparently not yet.

  12. Branch_Rickey

    Losing Kemp is a negative. But when you have Ketshaw/Greinke as 1-2; a very strong 3; a strong bullpen; a dominant closer; offense that includes Gonzalez, Ramirez, Puig and possibly Ethier supported by no automatic outs…. Don’t you have a postseason team that is as strong as any?

  13. Bumsrap

    Bring Pederson up and let him play CF. Maybe Kemp can DH in WS. I know, I know.

  14. package206

    I think the Dodgers will be fine without Matt Kemp. After all he was out most of time the Dodgers were on their great run. Also, don’t forget Donnie has rested everyone a lot so the team being tired should not be a factor.

    • ASW1

      One of the main reason the Dodgers were fine without Kemp while they were on their great run was because they had a healthy Ethier playing good D in CF and producing at the plate.

      • package206

        I have a lot more faith in Dre making it back quickly than I ever had for Kemp coming back. The guy is made of glass.

        • ASW1

          I seriously hope Dre making it back quickly becomes a reality and if not, I’d even almost rather have Dre @ 90% in CF than Shoe @ 100%.

          • package206

            I definitely agree with you!

          • NoahUCLA

            Ethier hasn’t been cleared to run the bases yet, so he’s not even 90%. I bet mattingly would agree that ethier at 90 is better than shoe at 100. Ethier being cleared to play would be better than shoe. Unfortunately he’s not there yet. Please tell mattingly to let Puig bat in the middle of the order. At least Gonzalez, Ramirez and Puig is still a pretty serious threat. CC can lead off and mark Ellis can bat second or aj. Don’t bat Puig first or second and have uribe fifth.

          • ASW1

            Crawford LF
            M Ellis 2b
            Ramirez SS
            AGon 1b
            Puig RF
            Uribe 3b
            AJ Ellis C
            Shoe CF
            Kershaw P

            Still a pretty good lineup, but switching M Ellis and Puig in the order not a bad way to go either – I’m not so much worried about the offense as much as I am the defense in CF.

        • Kemp? Kemp had a consecutive game streak of about 400 before he hurt his shoulder last year. He’s not fragile, he’s just had fluky things happen.

          From May of 2012: “Kemp’s consecutive games-played streak, the longest among active players, was snapped at 399.”

          • package206

            Betcha he doesn’t play 100 games next year. I would not call his injuries fluky and he takes a long, long, long,long time to heal.

  15. John_from_Aus

    We’ll give it our best shot and see what happens

  16. KT

    Jerry Hairston, Jr. ‏@Therealjhair6m
    I know fans are a little down because of Matt and Dre. Guys have played hard, hurt and n PAIN. Over comin Adversity is what we do! #Dodgers

  17. KT

    Los Angeles Dodgers ‏@Dodgers59m
    4 Days. #ITFDB

  18. NoahUCLA

    Our defense didn’t just get worse in center field, but also our bench defense is not special. SVS scares everyone when he enters the field, Gordon can probably play left field as well as SVS, but SVS can probably play short just as well as Gordon, and Punto and Young are decent but not great. How can Mattingly pinch hit for anyone other than a pitcher (and maybe AJ) without being scared half to death of the defense he has to put out there? Maybe we bring up Tony Gwynn to play defense and have Greinke pinch hit!!

    • WBBsAs

      SVS is OK on defense, but incapable of CF.Young is one of the game’s worst defensive players at four different positions.

  19. btimmer

    Make do or do without.

  20. Jon_Wymore

    I believe the 1981 Dodgers were 9-15 in September so there’s that.

    Personally I think the lineup with Ethier in CF was the most productive all year, but against Braves who could throw 2 LHP starters maybe that is minimized to an extent.

    I think Ethier is more important for the Cardinals series (assuming there is one) since they have all RHP starters and having that extra LH batter who kills righties against a good team would be sorely needed. Obviously the 2nd round is guarenteed for neither team but I think the Dodgers can beat the Braves in the 1st round and should. Whether they do or not depends on the way the baseball falls.

    • foul tip

      Given Dodger struggles v LHP a lot of the year, might be likely the Braves do so.

      • Jon_Wymore

        Personally I’d love to see Maholm take the mound against HanRam and Puig….but hopefully there is no game 4 after a Dodgers sweep!

  21. ASW1

    Shoe hit .263 with 2 HR and 30 RBIs in 125 games this season. He was the starting CFer for the Redbirds in games 5,6, and 7 of the 2011 WS – which the cards won.

  22. btimmer

    So… judging from the Internets and Twitters:
    1) Matt Kemp is lazy and injury prone because he signed a big contract
    2) Joe Mauer is a wimp because he wouldn’t play with a concussion
    3) People have lost their minds

    • RBI

      Matt looked heartbroken yesterday, so add that adjective to the list.

      • btimmer

        Because of the salaries in sports, people don’t like athletes getting injured and not playing. But people take it PERSONALLY. I really don’t think Matt Kemp enjoys having an ankle and shoulder that hurts him a lot.

        • NoahUCLA

          We got spoiled by the peds era, where people could play until they were 50 without their body giving out on them, and they could recover in half the time it takes a normal human to recover. Maybe baseball players really are a lot cleaner. At least that is a silver lining (if you are opposed to peds in baseball like me that is!).

          • btimmer

            I am actually more ticked off at people complaining about Joe Mauer.

          • NoahUCLA

            If football players and boxers are willing to have life expectancies of the 18th century, shouldn’t we expect the same from our baseball players and make them play through concussions and blows to the head? (just kidding of course)

      • foul tip

        What’s no doubt making him feel worse is what he said when the ankle injury first happened, that he did it to himself by not going full speed on the play at the plate.

    • foul tip

      I vote 3),

      Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. Too bad there can’t be a requirement that said opinion:

      1) be halfway intelligent

      2) show some signs of being halfway informed

    • RBI

      This Fox article describes what I saw through my binocs at the game yesterday: (I hope this works. I’m a bit of a Luddite when it comes to attachments, etc.

    • Bob_Hendley

      Internet and twitter talk is like bar talk, except bar talk comes with the threat of being punched in the nose.

  23. Koufax gets a six-figure deal, then retires. #wimp
    – Twitter 1966

    • NoahUCLA

      I always wanted to see how he’d do as a righty. Could Tommy John surgery have saved him?

      • btimmer

        Koufax had arthritis, not a ruptured ligament. I don’t know what could help him, even today.

        • thescrounger


        • 14hodges

          Yeah, arthritis, probably from jamming his arm when he slid back into second base one time. Oh, man, how the world wishes he would have just let himself be thrown out.

  24. 14hodges has no starter name or headshot for the Dodger pitcher of Thursday’s game. Is there any doubt who it will be?

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