Dave Roberts and the Dodgers are on pace for a little over 113 wins this season, which would shatter their franchise record of 106, which they’ve reached in each of the last two 162-game seasons.
If the team’s final 39 games go the way their most recent 39 went, they’d go 31-8 and finish the season with 117 wins. That would be a record, passing the 1906 Cubs and the 2001 Mariners.
What do the 2021 Dodgers, 2019 Dodgers, 2001 Mariners, and 1906 Cubs have in common, besides winning a ton of regular-season games? That’s right, none of them won the World Series.
To be clear, we’re not suggesting that winning a record number of games in the regular season hurts a team’s chances of winning the World Series; it’s simply that, once the postseason starts, it’s a level playing field. Everyone starts October with zero wins, and the only way to win it all is to get to 11 wins first. (Or to 13 wins, if you’re unfortunate enough to be one of the four teams playing in the Wild Card round; with the new playoff format in 2022, for the first time you do get a tangible advantage for winning the most games in the regular season.)
All this to say the 2022 Dodgers don’t have a goal of winning the most regular-season games in team history, let alone the most in MLB history. Their goal is to win the last game of the season, sometime between November 1 and November 5.
So while their figurative foot is planted firmly on the metaphorical gas pedal right now, don’t expect it to stay that way through the end of the season. As J.P. Hoornstra reports in the Orange County Register, Roberts and the Dodgers have some clear goals, and none of those goals involve regular season accomplishments, team or individual.
“The great thing about our ball club is there’s a lot of talented players on our roster,” Manager Dave Roberts said. “I know once we clinch, Freddie’s going to get a day off here or there. Trea’s going to do the same thing. I just don’t feel we compromise anything with other guys (starting). … Regardless of who starts we expect to win as many games as we possibly can.
“I don’t think most guys know the win record for a team, modern-day or whatever it is. Our goal is to win a championship.”
Trea Turner and Freddie Freeman have both started every game this season. As Roberts says, that’s unlikely to remain true for 162. The two stars are also in a neck-and-neck battle for the MLB lead in hits, and while the friendly competition is a lot of fun, the main benefit is that hits from Freeman and Turner generally lead to runs for the Dodgers, which lead to wins for the Dodgers. Even in the thick of the battle, Trea took two walks in Wednesday night’s game. He didn’t like it, but he did it for the team.
The Dodgers are likely to set a franchise record for wins, simply because they’d have to play relatively poorly not to. They might even set the MLB record. But if they do, it will be because it happened within the context of their larger goal of preparing to win in October.
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