Baseball sure is a funny game. That 162 game season is a long one – and a team that looks amazing one month is dreadful the next. Take the Los Angeles Dodgers of 2017.
It wasn’t so long ago we were talking about this being one of the best teams in history, of them breaking the Mariners single season win record, and how cute it was of them to add Yu Darvish at the trade deadline. Now? They’ve lost 16 of 17 heading into play Tuesday night and have set the longest losing streak in franchise history since the team moved to Los Angeles – in 1958.
On the other side of the spectrum is the Indians, who had a good but not great first half, have lit fire and after Tuesday’s game tied the 2002 Athletics with the longest winning streak in American League history at 20 games. The streak has come as well WITHOUT super reliever Andrew Miller.
A few great stats about this streak from Sports Illustrated:
- They have allowed just 32 runs during the streak and scored 134. One Hundred and Thirty Four. A 102 run differential. On average over 5 runs a game.
- They have only even trailed for 4 of the 171 innings.
- With those 32 runs allowed as comparison – know they have HIT 39 home runs after Francisco Lindor hit his 30th in Tuesday’s win.
- Closer Cody Allen hasn’t allowed a run since even before the streak begin – since August 12th.
- As for MLB’s best record which now determines home field advantage in the World Series, the Indians have cleaned up. On August 26th, the Dodgers held the advantage by 19.5 games. Now? Indians have closed 15.5 games in 17 days. Remarkable.
My own fun stat is that the Cleveland Browns from 2012-current 2017 season won 20 games TOTAL – and lost 61 during that time!
For the Dodgers, the LA Times reported that former manager and unofficial mascot Tommy Lasorda (who lost 10 straight in 1992 on a 99 loss Dodgers team) came by to encourage Dave Roberts:
“With what we’re going through, he just wanted to put his hand on my shoulder and say, ‘I’ve been there. It’s going to be okay,”
Sure- the Dodgers still have a 9 game lead over Arizona in the division – who swept the Dodgers during this current 11 game winning streak but certainly has to like their chances if they can get past the second NL Wild Card(likely the Rockies).
Yet – as I said when it all started, baseball is a long season. Even with all of these streaks going on, there are still about 18 games left in the season. As long as the Dodgers can finish on a good note and the Indians don’t lost the next 18, this stretch doesn’t really matter.
No World Series champion has ever had a 10 game losing streak. The Indians have to lose sometime, right? They don’t get to bankroll these wins for the playoffs but they have passed the Astros for best AL record. The 1921 Cubs by the way have the longest winning streak without a tie (26 for the 1916 New York Giants) at 21 games.
By 1921 the Cubs were already 13 years into their own World Championship drought. At this point the Indians might appreciate any connection to the Cubs though, because of course the last Indians World Championship was 1948…the current longest championship drought after the 2016 Cubs won last season – against these same Cleveland Indians.