Sixty games is a little more than a third of a major league season. While there are still over hundred games remaining after getting to the 60-game mark, it's a benchmark to tell you it's not early anymore. Baseball folks will tell you that Memorial Day is the first real measuring stick. A week beyond that, the Los Angeles Dodgers are doing more than just measuring up.
A record of 41 wins and 19 losses is not only the best in baseball, it's the Dodgers best 60-game start in 45 years. The late Bill Buckner was on that 1974 team that won the National League pennant, and lost the World Series to Oakland. The 104-win squad of two years ago that lost to Houston in seven in the World Series, didn't start out this great. Things are looking good for the guys who wear blue.
Any baseball team over the course of six months is going to have its ups and downs, but a team doing what the Dodgers are doing so far, actually could be sustained through the year. A 41-19 record is a winning percentage of .683. That translates to 111 wins for the season. The current champion Boston Red Sox, who beat the Dodgers in the series last year, won 108. It can be done.
How are they doing it? They are winning really in all facets of the game, except one. It's like getting all A's and one D-minus on a report card. They are best in hitting, best in defense, and best in starting pitching. Their bullpen, though, is bad.
The Dodgers won tonight, by the way, so you can make that record 42-19. Their division lead is 9˝ games over the Colorado Rockies. They are 3-0 in June, have won six in a row, ten out of their last eleven, 12 out of 14, and 16 of their last 19. The last time they lost two games in a row was April 24 and 25 (at Chicago). The only other time that happened was a six-game losing streak April 8-13 (four at St. Louis, two vs. Milwaukee). They are 25-7 at home, which is the best in baseball, and their 17-12 road record is the best in the National League (Minnesota, Tampa Bay, Yankees, and Houston all better in the AL). All of this without a great pen.
But wait, there's more. Cody Bellinger has a ten-game hitting streak and has an MLB-leading .376 average. He has 20 homers, which is second in the league. His 52 RBIs are number one. Rookie Alex Verdugo, who wasn't supposed to play much this year, is hitting .315, Justin Turner is batting .311, Joc Pederson has 18 home runs, Max Muncy has 12. Need a walkoff home run? Call up minor league catcher Will Smith. And that's just the offense.
Clayton Kershaw is 5-0, and the Dodgers haven't lost one of his starts since the Eisenhower administration (well..). Hyun-Jin Ryu (who remember accepted a qualifying offer during the off season, meaning the Dodgers really weren't all that interested in re-signing him) is 8-1 and leads the majors with a 1.48 ERA. Walker Buehler won tonight and is 6-1. You may think of Kenta Maeda and Rich Hill as the weaker links in the rotation, but they are 7-2 and 2-1 respectively. Hill's ERA is 2.25. Even closer Kenley Jansen, who has given up four home runs and blown two saves, has 18 saves to his credit, and has 35 strikeouts in over 25 innings. Opponents are batting just .191 against him.
That's how the Dodgers are winning. They were 3-1 in March, 17-11 in April, 19-7 in May, and 3-0 so far in June. Just imagine what they could do with some bullpen help.
Ill-conceived promotion: The Dodgers return home from an eight game road trip on June 13 against the Cubs, where it will be Joe Kelly Bobblehead Night at Dodger Stadium. After dominating the Dodgers with Boston in the World Series last year, and in his first season as a Dodger this year, Kelly has a 7.91 earned run average in 20 appearances, and a .325 opponent batting average. That's apparently the Dodger version of Stranger Things Night.
If the season ended today: If you haven't glanced at the other side of the standings column in awhile, it might surprise you to know that the Minnesota Twins (40-18)have the best record in the American League. The Houston Astros and the New York Yankees are the other division leaders, and the Tampa Bay Rays and the Texas Rangers (yes, the Texas Rangers) would be the wild card teams. And while it's really still early for this, the Angels are just 2˝ games out of a wild card spot, and have Justin Upton due back in a couple of weeks. In the NL, the Dodgers, Brewers, and Phillies lead their divisions. The Cubs and Braves would be the wild cards, with the Colorado Rockies (yes, the Colorado Rockies), who have won 8 straight, just a half-game back.
Her arm didn't fall off: Proof that major league baseball players are wimps. The UCLA softball team clinched a spot in the Women's College World Series with a 3-0, 10 inning, win over Washington. Rachel Garcia hit the walkoff three-run homer to win it, and also pitched all 10 innings, striking out 16. She also threw 179 pitches!! The UCLA men, by the way, are ranked number one in the country, and are on their way to the super regionals after beating Loyola Marymount tonight.
I wasn't asked: The Gold Sox are back for their 18th season in Marysville, and the college wood-bat summer team is in a new league. Returning to their original moniker of the Yuba-Sutter Gold Sox, the team lost two of three in its opening weekend, with one game suspended due to weather. The team, now in the Golden State Collegiate Baseball League, is also back to home games Thursdays through Sundays, and even back to its original radio home of KUBA. For some reason, though, there were no broadcasts this weekend, and I'm told (although I really hope this isn't true) the reason is that the announcer didn't show up. I'm not involved with the team anymore, and to answer the few people who have wondered—I wasn't asked. Not a word from the radio station, or the new ownership group, which is many of the same people that I started with. I'll admit it hurts a little. I miss the team, I miss the crew, and I miss the ball park. I wish them well, though.