Dodger Thoughts

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

Dodgers went nearly wire-to-wire on title run


By Jon Weisman

In what has perhaps seemed like an up-and-down season, Los Angeles truly ruled the National League West, leading nearly every day from April to tonight’s title-clinching, 8-0 victory.

The Dodgers beat the Padres on Opening Day, lost the next night to fall out of first place, then lost two of their next three to actually spend one night alone in the NL West cellar, two games behind the division-leading Colorado Rockies.

After that, Los Angeles went on a seven-game winning streak that remains their longest of the season, regaining a share of first place on April 17. In the five months and a week since, the Dodgers have gone to bed every night atop the NL West except for one. On May 29, a 3-0 loss at St. Louis left Los Angeles at 28-19, .004 behind the 30-20 Giants.

Not even three consecutive shutout losses at San Francisco from May 19-21, nor six losses in eight games from June 13-20, nor an 0-5 roadtrip to Oakland and Houston from August 18-23, nor even the torturous eight losses in 10 games from September 19-28, could dislodge the Dodgers from their perch.

The reason? Outside of those hiccups, the Dodgers have been consistent winners — in fact, Los Angeles hasn’t had a losing month all season.

In 2013, the Dodgers made national headlines with a 42-8 charge from last place to first in the NL West. In 2014, the Dodgers made another comeback from 9 1/2 games back in the division to take the lead in June, then fell behind again in July before a final spurt put them on top for good.

The 2015 season lacked that drama, leaving fans time to wonder why their hadn’t clinched the division by Independence Day. The Dodgers’ closest call was when their division lead shrunk to 1 1/2 games during the 0-5 trip.

But Los Angeles came back to win five of its next six games, heading into the most critical series of the season: three games at home against the Giants, who were 9-3 against their rivals. In what has been the highpoint of the season up to now, the Dodgers swept the Giants, starting with a 14-inning victory and finishing with back-to-back 2-1 victories by Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw.

All this was part of an 18-5 run that widened the division lead to an effectively insurmountable 8 1/2 games. For all the concern about this team’s winning mentality, it has stepped up whenever it has needed to.

The Dodgers won this title despite ongoing turnover on their roster, and even in their lineup. The team used a franchise-record 55 players, and by the end of the season, you could argue that there wasn’t a single definitive full-time starter outside of Adrian Gonzalez and Justin Turner, who themselves were battling to stay healthy.

Los Angeles used platoons at catcher, left field and (once Yasiel Puig went down in August) right field, and the middle infield was a rotation of veterans Chase Utley, Howie Kendrick, Jimmy Rollins and 21-year-old Corey Seager. Joc Pederson was the center fielder for most of the year, only to lose his job in August to Hernandez, only to regain it when Hernandez injured his hamstring, only to perhaps lose it again now that Hernandez has returned from the DL with a bang.

Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Brett Anderson each served as full-time starters, while the Dodgers spent most of the season solving for the injuries to Hyun-Jin Ryu and Brandon McCarthy. The back end of the rotation, plus an inconsistent (though better of late) bullpen behind Kenley Jansen, are what has Dodger fans holding their breath for the coming postseason.

But you can’t win if you can’t play. And once again, in 2015, the Dodgers will most certainly be playing.


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  1. Thanks for the season recap Jon! I had forgotten they were for the briefest of moments in last place in the opening week. I only recall AGon’s fast start with all those home runs. Anyway, I know the season is not over and the Dodger year is certainly not over. However, on a night of celebration of acheiving a season long goal (the first of several I hope), it seems appropriate to celebrate the day in day out, often brilliant and always insightful work of Dodger Insider. You work with a great team I’m sure Jon but you are the Clayton Kershaw of the staff. Love your writing style and your life philosophy. And finally – proud to wear my old Dodger Thoughts t-shirt for good mojo today!

  2. oldbrooklynfan

    It’s hard for me to really tell what to expect from this NLDS regardless of who ‘ll win the HFA. The Mets have been playing very well in the 2nd half while the Dodgers have been their streaky up and down selves all year.

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