How the Los Angeles Dodgers won the NL West (by the numbers)
The Los Angeles Dodgers clinched the National League West for the 20th time in franchise history after defeating the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-0 Tuesday evening.
The Dodgers got a vintage performance from Clayton Kershaw (who went seven shutout innings of two-hit ball) while Joey Gallo, Freddie Freeman and Max Muncy provided all the offense for the win.
The Dodgers were the first team in baseball to clinch a postseason berth and were the first team to clinch their division. The Dodgers reclaimed the NL West after finishing in second place in 2021 despite winning 106 games (sorry, Fluke Giants!). This year, there was no race to speak of with the Dodgers occupying first place since mid-June and never relinquishing their lead.
How did the Dodgers pull off this remarkable achievement? Here are the numbers that tell the whole story.
On June 18, the Dodgers woke up in second place having lost to the Cleveland Guardians the night before. They would return to first place again that evening after beating the Guardians and never lose their lead again.
The Dodgers went 58-19 (.753) since then, turning a half-game lead into the eventual 20.5-game lead in their clinching game. The Dodgers really turned on the afterburners following the All-Star Game, going 38-13, which was five games better than the next closest team (Houston Astros).
Last year, the Dodgers were in a tight race with the Giants and, for some time, the San Diego Padres. The three teams were each vying for a postseason berth going into September. A yearly late-season swoon sunk the Padres, but the Giants beat the Dodgers by one game to claim the West.
It’s possible the Dodgers took last year personally and have used their NL West opponents as their own personal piñata. The Dodgers went 43-9 against the NL West after clinching against the Diamondbacks, but they still have games against Arizona and the Colorado Rockies. With the best record in baseball still up for grabs, it’s unlikely the Dodgers will let up on their rivals. Expect continued domination.
After beating the Diamondbacks, the Dodgers run differential sat at +320. If the season ended Tuesday, that would be the best margin since the 2001 Seattle Mariners (+300). According to Stat Muse, only the 1927, 1936 and 1939 New York Yankees as well as the 1906 Chicago Cubs could best that in the modern era. These Dodgers aren’t just great in 2022 — they’re potentially an all-time juggernaut.
One is not really a stat so much as it is the Dodgers’ philosophy going into October. As they celebrated the NL West on Tuesday, the Dodgers reminded everyone that clinching the division was but one step in a larger process to claim another World Series title, which manager Dave Roberts guaranteed in the offseason.