Dodgers win games in historic video: ‘We all felt special’

On the day the Dodgers won their second of 10 games in a row, Freddie Freeman couldn’t help but smile.

To that point, the Dodgers had won 22 of their last 27 games. They had the best record in baseball, a gap that has since grown to five games over the Mets starting Thursday. Their pitching staff led baseball in ERA. Their offense scored the most runs in baseball. And the visions that arose after Freeman signed a six-year, $162 million deal this spring have come true.

“I mean,” Freeman said after slyly noting that the Dodgers’ win over the Giants that night just gave them the best record in baseball, “(that’s like) all you guys were talking about in spring training.”

It was all that and more, and it started before Freeman arrived. The Dodgers are 118-44 over their last 162 regular season games. They brought in Freeman to replace producer Corey Seager, who left in free agency. Even though Max Scherzer left for New York and Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw missed significant time on the injured list, they assembled the best team in the league.

And now they’re winning games at an unprecedented rate for the era. That 162 game mark would be the best in baseball history for a single season. The only other clubs close to that post-expansion mark (since 1961) were the early 2000s Mariners (who tied the single-season record with 116 wins in 2001) and the late 90s Yankees ( who won 114 in 1998). Expand the search and it’s the winningest stretch of a regular season in baseball since Cleveland went 118-42 (plus two ties) during the 1954 and 1955 seasons. No club has won more games in any period in the 162-game period since unification in 1947.

Even for a club that has won more games than anyone in the last decade and has seen some epic hot streaks of late (they went 42-8 at one point in 2013 and 43-7 during the 2017 stretch), that’s staggering. long game level. .

“When you see what we have in this clubhouse, you don’t expect it — but you kind of do,” Cody Bellinger said after a recent sweep of the Padres.

“I think we all had a special feeling,” Freeman said that day. “(Now) we’re playing the baseball we envisioned, and we haven’t lost a lot of games since.”

The Dodgers are 77-33. It pushed them to a 16-game lead in the division a year after they tied a franchise record 106 games. FanGraphs projections have the Dodgers on target at 108-54; a 39-13 blitz in recent months would have tied the Mariners’ single-season record. Oddly enough, the Dodgers’ season still has some flaws. The team’s struggles with the revamped extra-inning format continue (2-5 this season). The Dodgers are just 8-9 in one-run games. They have an amazing 1-5 mark against a Pirates club more than 20 games below .500.

However, this is enough for a level of dominance that few clubs have been able to achieve.

“It was a magical year,” said Bret Boone, a member of the 2001 Mariners Club. Athletic. “That doesn’t happen, and it’s not because we were the best team in the history of the game. We had a lot of great players, all-star players. We had champion batsmen in our team, we had Golden Gloves in that team, but we were probably not the best team that ever walked this earth. But that’s how we played.”

Boone made three All-Star appearances during his 14-year career, including appearances with such prolific clubs as the Reds and Braves. Nothing compared to the Sailors Club.

“I believed (that) baseball was about getting the best players and beating the crap out of the opposition,” Boone said. “That changed in 2001. There’s something about team chemistry.”

Dodgers officials have publicly and privately praised the cohesiveness of this Dodgers group compared to groups of the recent past. The Dodgers reached the World Series in 2018, but failed to win the division to get there. The Dodgers won 106 games in 2021, but were somewhat stale before midseason additions like Scherzer and Trea Turner arrived.

According to officials, the cohesiveness of this group goes beyond the “Wolf of Wall Street”-themed celebration in the dugout that drew taunts from Yarlin Garcia earlier in the series. The same with the DJ table that appeared in the home club in mid-May.

“I think we do a pretty good job of letting you get to know guys at your own pace,” Kershaw said Athletic last month. “There’s no uniformity, like, ‘Hey, you have to do it this way.’ You do that and that’s kind of our motto, as long as you go out there and try to win the game, that’s all we care about, tonight’s game. Culture will take care of itself.”

That was done this season and the wins followed.

“It’s as tight a group as I’ve ever been around,” manager Dave Roberts said. “Just a lot of unselfishness and I think as a result you see us play and we win a lot of baseball games. I think that’s something we can keep if we just keep playing together.”

(Photo: Richard Maxon/USA Today)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.