The Los Angeles Dodgers defied the odds in 2023 and ended up capturing the NL West by a wide margin, winning 100 games for the fourth consecutive (full) season, which is the first time that's happened in MLB history. Prior to the year, they were projected to win between 90-92 games as a result of an exodus of players.
This current run of Dodgers baseball since 2013 has been one of the best decade-plus stretches we'll ever see, but, as history goes, teams are remembered and judged by their performance in the playoffs.
Though the Dodgers have a World Series victory over that stretch, it came during the shortened 2020 season -- an achievement opposing fans love to minimize and attempt to invalidate because it didn't come after a grueling 162-game campaign with fans in the stands.
Dodgers fans don't discount that World Series like other jealous fanbases do, but they certainly want one without any debate surrounding it. More importantly, they just want to see all of this wire-to-wire regular season dominance translate to something that cannot be refuted.
LA has the most wins of any team over the last decade, but are unfortunately remembered more for their shortcomings in October, which once again took centerstage immediately after their 2020 triumph.
Dodgers setting incredible MLB record is actually double-edged sword
Last year's record-setting 111-win Dodgers team go bounced in the NLDS. Nobody will remember that roster except die-hard Dodgers fans. The year before? Dubbed one of the best rosters in MLB history after the trade deadline? Bounced in the NLCS rather effortlessly after they barely escaped the Giants in the NLDS. We'd rather not revisit too many of these.
The point is, yet another non-playoff milestone will only implicitly create pressure for LA to be the last team standing this year. Even with the focus on the Braves and Astros yet again, those teams' more recent success gives them the narrative advantage. Both of them also got the best of the Dodgers in 2017 and 2021.
The Dodgers managed to notch 100 wins differently this time around, too. They infused their roster with a ton of young talent and added glue-guy veterans on one-year contracts. The greatest team is franchise history was somehow only 11 games better than this generic version of the Dodgers.
But the excuses won't matter. Nobody cares the Dodgers' starting rotation is in shambles. Nobody cares four rookies are responsible for helping keep this team a contender. Nobody cares injuries have prevented them from being the best version of themselves.
Another playoff failure will only magnify the voices that criticize the Dodgers for their consistent greatness as a result of their weak division. It'll magnify the voices that spew the same old nonsense over and over again. So while 400+ wins across the last four 162-game campaigns is something that's never been done, it's also something that will probably be a footnote with another premature playoff exit.
Fingers crossed this achievement has a longer shelf life than the others.