I’ve never seen anything like this.
Sayings like this are easy and often times lazy. It’s a hyperbole/absolute combo and can’t really be proven false because it sounds like a feeling instead of fact. I can sit there and watch Madison Bumgarner’s run in the 2014 postseason and say “I’ve never seen anything like this” and it can easily be true without facts to back it up.
The funny thing is, though, much of the time the trained eye says as much, a good amount of the sentiment is buried in fact. Bumgarner’s postseason run actually was statistically one of the greatest in single-season postseason history. Many of us saying we hadn’t seen it weren’t alive to see things like Sandy Koufax in the World Series, for example.
On that jumping off point, what the Dodgers are doing right now is truly unlike anything we’ve seen in baseball history.
Doesn’t it really sum up how awesomely stupid baseball can be that one of the greatest teams in history can all of a sudden become one of the worst on a dime?
It bears repeating: The Dodgers were 91-36 just a few weeks ago. That’s a full-season pace of an MLB-record tying 116 wins. No, I don’t think anyone jumped the gun on talking about this. It wasn’t a tiny sample. It wasn’t the 2016 Cubs starting 25-6. It wasn’t the Astros starting this year 42-16. It was 127 games through Aug. 25. Anyone ignoring L.A.’s run at the Mariners record was doing a disservice to Dodger fans.
As for the subject at hand, which are the internet’s best and most prestigious MLB Power Rankings, it was the easiest number one ranking, week-in, week-out, ever. Truth be told, it was actually boring.
Not so much anymore.
Now, to channel Ron Washington’s character in the “Moneyball” movie, it’s incredibly hard.
The Dodgers have now lost 16 of their last 18 games, having snapped an 11-game losing streak with Tuesday’s win. It was the worst stretch in the history of the Dodgers’ long and storied franchise.
Here’s how bad things are: The two wins in that stretch were Clayton Kershaw starts, one against the Padres and one against the Giants. In Tuesday’s win, the Dodgers needed a four-out save from Kenley Jansen like it was the playoffs or something.
Think about it. This is no exaggeration. No one has ever seen anything like this. As noted above, one of the best teams in history has morphed into one of the worst. Each night during their insane, extended stretch of winning — they were 56-11 from June 7 to Aug. 25 — it didn’t seem real. It doesn’t seem real now, either.
Did you notice the funkiest thing of all? The Dodgers lost 11 in a 67-game stretch and prior to Tuesday had lost 11 in an 11-game stretch. Insanity.
To channel Al Michaels from “Jerry Maguire,” I don’t even know what I’m feeling right now.
[Note: My new goal is to knock out as many sports movie references in the next few weeks that I can get away with a “Varsity Blues” reference — hoping to work in “Days of Thunder” next time]
The subject has myriad angles from which to approach, but the one here is obviously how to rank them. The rankings are always a confluence of body of work, personnel and “what have you done for me lately.” Earlier in the year, the latter two are pretty much all we have, but as the season progresses, the former takes on more and more weight. We’re in mid-September, too.
The body of work is still the best in baseball — though that gap is rapidly closing — while the personnel is still very good. Obviously on the latter point of judgment, the Dodgers are the worst team in baseball right now. No one has been worse in the past two-and-a-half weeks and there’s little debate about that.
I can’t put the Dodgers last, of course, but they sure as hell aren’t holding the top spot. I’m kind of chuckling to myself thinking back to two weeks ago when I said they would be No. 1 the rest of the way barring something extreme. Ladies and gents, meet extreme. This season has been as extreme as it gets — and not just from the Dodgers standpoint (I’m looking at you, Cleveland).
I sometimes say that there isn’t a wrong answer when discussing something subjective here, but putting the team with the best record in baseball No. 1 right now in any power ranking system is definitely wrong. Context matters and the Dodgers clearly aren’t the best team in baseball right now. If you strenuously object (damn, “A Few Good Men” isn’t a sports movie!), maybe the rankings aren’t for you. That’s OK. We have a standings page.
Think about the above statement again: Putting the team with the best record in baseball No. 1 right now in any power ranking system is definitely wrong.
Oh baseball, you awesomely stupid beast, you.
As for those wanting Indians love,and they are now No. 1 without a second thought (and ). Such a fun team, too. Enjoy them, Cleveland.