THE CITY OF DODGERLY LOVE: The Los Angeles Dodgers enter the final leg of their 10-game road trip (4-2) tonight with the first of four against the Philadelphia Phillies, a team they last saw back on April 30 when they finished the month with a record of 14-12 courtesy of a three-game sweep at Dodger Stadium.
Following Thursday’s afternoon contest, Los Angeles will head home for the final regular season homestand, a six-game run with three contests apiece against the Giants and Padres.
The Dodgers’ magic number to clinch the National League West stands at four, while the club has clinched a postseason berth for the eighth time in the last 12 seasons.
The Dodgers’ 44-30 (.595) road record is the second best in the NL, trailing only the Nationals (45-27, .625).
The Dodgers own the best record in baseball with a 96-53 mark (.644), 3.5 games better than the Indians. The 96 victories are the most by a Dodger club since the 1977 squad finished 98-64.
Los Angeles’ +173 run differential is the best in the NL, 28 runs better than the Arizona Diamondbacks.
FIGHTIN’ IN PHILLY: Since 2012, the Dodgers are 12-4 at Citizens Bank Park and have not lost a series here since 2011. Overall, the Dodgers have won nine of 11 against the Phillies, including six consecutive series. The six straight series wins over Philadelphia ties for the longest active streak in baseball (Cardinals over the Phillies, Nationals over the Astros). Source: STATS, LLC
The Dodgers are 23-7 (.767) vs. the NL East this year with five games left against the division. According to STATS, LLC, that would be the best winning percentage vs. the east in the history of divisional play, besting the current mark of .733 (33-12), held by the 1999 Diamondbacks.
#KERSHAWDAY: Clayton Kershaw takes the mound tonight for his 25th start of the season and fourth start since coming off the DL on Sept. 1. Kershaw is 9-1 with a 1.45 ERA (12 ER/74.1 IP) and a .210 opp. avg. in 11 road outings. In fact, according to STATS, LLC, his road ERA is one of the best over the last 40+ years:
NL, Lowest Road ERA in a Single Season – Since 1975
(minimum 10 starts)
1995 Greg Maddux, ATL 1.12
2005 Roger Clemens, HOU 1.32
2017 Robbie Ray, ARI 1.33
1994 Greg Maddux, ATL 1.37
2017 Clayton Kershaw, LAD 1.45
Kershaw leads the Majors in ERA (2.12) while ranking among baseball’s best in opponents’ OBP (.239, 2nd) wins (17, T-1st), WHIP (0.92, T-2nd), strikeout-to-walk ratio (6.71, 4th), opponents’ batting average (.203, 4th), opponents’ OPS (.585, 3rd) and Ks/9 (10.78, 6th).
The Dodgers are 21-3 (.875) when Kershaw takes the mound this year and according to Stats LLC., that’s one of the highest team winning percentages in a pitcher’s starts in a season during the live-ball era (since 1920):
ML, Best Team Record in Pitcher’s Starts – Since 1920
(minimum 20 starts)
1931 Lefty Grove, Phi 27-3 .900
1995 Randy Johnson, Sea 27-3 .900
2017 Clayton Kershaw, LAD 21-3 .875
Kershaw is 3-4 with a 2.92 ERA (23 ER/71.0 IP) in 11-career starts against the Phillies, who are one of three teams he has a losing record against along with the Rangers (0-1, 1 GS) and Pirates (2-3, 11 GS). Kershaw tossed a shutout in his last start vs. the Phillies on July 8, 2015 at Dodger Stadium, and has not allowed a run vs. Philadelphia since the fourth inning on July 18, 2012, a span on 27.0 innings.
WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS: Congratulations to the Rookie-level Ogden Raptors, who last night won the Pioneer League championship by splitting a doubleheader with Great Falls. Ogden dropped Game 2 of the best-of-three series earlier in the day, getting clobbered, 15-3. Then the Raptors bounced back in the Game 3 nightcap with an 8-3 clinching victory that saw four different players collect two hits (Donovan Casey, Romar Cuadrado, Brayan Morales and Kevin Lachance). Well done boys!
Congratulations are also in order on a great season for the Double-A Tulsa Drillers, who last night lost to Midland, 1-0, in Game 5 of the Texas League championship.
THE RECORD WILL FALL: Dodger rookie sensation Cody Bellinger ripped his 38th homer run of the season Saturday and is now tied with Wally Berger (1930) and Frank Robinson (1956) for the most homers in a season by a National League rookie. The only rookies in history who have hit more homers than Bellinger are Mark McGwire (49, 1987) and Aaron Judge (43, 2017). Bellinger ranks among the league leaders in homers (38, 2nd), slugging percentage (.606, 5th) and OPS (.962, 7th).
SHUT IT DOWN: The Dodgers lead the NL with a 3.40 ERA, a 1.15 WHIP (1st, MLB) and a .227 opponents’ batting average (1st, MLB), while leading the NL in strikeouts (1,429).
The club’s 1,429 strikeouts rank second in franchise history, just behind the 1,510 they amassed last year.
A NIGHT TO REMEMBER: On this date 10 years ago, Jeff Kent, J.D. Drew, Russell Martin and Marlon Anderson hit back-to-back-to-back-to-back home runs in the ninth inning against the Padres to erase a 9-5 deficit in a game the Dodgers would go on to win in 11 innings, 11-10, on current Dodger broadcaster Nomar Garciaparra’s walk-off two-run homer. The Dodgers tied a franchise record for home runs in an inning (4) and tied a Dodger Stadium record for homers in a game (7).
Back on April 29, Yasiel Puig, Cody Bellinger and Justin Turner hit three consecutive home runs in the ninth inning to tie the game vs. the Phillies at 5-5. It marked the first time a big league club had hit three consecutive homers in the ninth inning or later to tie the game since the 2006 4+1 game. Bellinger’s first two big league home runs were also hit in that contest.
BEST IN THE BIGS: Dodger closer Kenley Jansen is tied for third in the Majors with 38 saves and also leads all NL relievers in WHIP (0.74), while ranking second with 101 strikeouts. Jansen reached the 100-strikeout plateau for the fourth time in his career (also 2013-14, ’16), something only seven other relievers have accomplished and just two (Hall of Famers Rollie Fingers and Goose Gossage) have struck out 100 five times. Jansen’s 1.27 ERA (9 ER/63.2 IP) this season ranks second in the Majors, trailing only Arizona’s Archie Bradley (1.20). The Dodger bullpen’s 3.38 ERA is tops in the NL.
MR. CONSISTENT: Corey Seager is hitting .371 (36-for-97) with runners in scoring position this season (6th, NL), .343 (68-for-198) with runners on base and .452 (19-for-42) with RISP and two outs, which is the best in baseball.
Justin Turner ranks third in the NL with a .323 batting average and is also third with a .416 on-base percentage. The All-Star third baseman has been hit by a pitch 17 times this season (T-4th, NL), which is one shy of Alex Cora’s Los Angeles Dodger record, set in 2004.