The Los Angeles Dodgers have assembled the best 50 game record (42-8) in the last 100 years, and it has been an entire team effort in doing so. However, while most of the credit has gone to the rookie phenom Yasiel Puig, it may be slightly misplaced. If anyone is to credit for the Dodgers’ turnaround it is not Puig, but rather the incredible starting staff, which has been one of the best in baseball.
On June 2, the day LA fans now remember as “Puig eve,” the Dodgers were struggling to stay relevant in the NL West. Their record was just 23-32 and they were coming off a particularly rough series loss to the Colorado Rockies. Playoffs, which were almost a given considering the team LA had assembled, seemed like an out of reach destination.
But then the rookie Puig made his debut and did so in incredible style. His stats were off the charts and the Dodgers won their next two games behind his five-tool skills. Interestingly enough, though, LA still had a losing record winning just seven of Puig’s first 17 games. He may have been called the “spark Puig” but ultimately it wasn’t until the starting staff barreled down that LA started winning games at an astronomically high rate.
That turnaround began on June 22, a day when Zach Greinke, who despite high expectations had been just 3-2 with a 4.22 ERA on the season, took the mound and emerged victorious against the San Diego Padres. This was game one of the Dodgers’ 42-8 surge. It also marked the first of five straight wins for Greinke and the beginning of the stretch that has seen LA starters go 27-6.
Overall on the season, the Dodger starters have the best ERA in baseball at 3.16. Their team ERA, including starters and relievers, is third best in baseball at 3.26. And during the last 50 games, the bullpen has been one of the best in baseball.
So while Puig’s phenomenal year, Hanley Ramirez‘s resurgence since coming off of the DL and really the entire offense, which at .268 has the second best average in the NL, is a very large part of why the Dodgers have been so successful, pitching deserves most of the credit.
And fortunately enough for the Dodgers, it is pitching that wins championships.