2022 Los Angeles Dodgers Are Basically The Best Team In MLB History And They're Not Slowing Down
I'm going through the pre-show stuff for Starting 9 and I like to make a note as I go of general talking points for each team. There might be a spreadsheet to keep track, which allows me to say stuff like "we haven't talked about" XYZ and actually mean it. Like last week with the Rangers or the Mariners rabbit hole I'm about to go down for tomorrow morning.
Interesting enough the Dodgers are on the list because they're so boring. Last week we talked a little about Kershaw coming back and what enables his excellence for so long. But it's rarely about how good the Dodgers are because they're honestly just that boring. The Padres are just as good as the Guardians and the Padres are 21 games out of the division. How much time/effort/energy is needed to dissect that?
Well turns out a lot more. Turns out the Dodgers are making history in front of my face and I'm pretty fuckin casual about it. That's on me. I should've known they're jump the '36 Yankees last week of the season. I should've known the next best team predates the rise of the American Dream. Since that narrative emerged there's only one comparison to the 2022 Dodgers and that's quite literally the best team of my life in any sport.
I think it matters when the previous 5 best teams by run differential won the World Series. Maybe not from the perspective of saying The Dodgers Will Win It. But more from building expectations. Like you can't put yourself in that company then crap out in the NLDS to the Cardinals. Even though the Cardinals are a very good team with at least 5 hall of famers. You absolutely expect these Dodgers to bulldoze them and then handle whichever NL East team emerges for the NLCS. Not guaranteeing it or whatever. But if you're a Dodgers fan, anything less is just as disappointing as I've felt watching the Cubs grind out 3rd place this year.
Same sport. Same emotions. Completely different journey to get there.
The alternative is obviously winning the World Series so just a quick refresher on that format.
The Dodgers are the 1 seed and will play the winner of 3 vs. 6 in the Wild Card. That's Cardinals vs. Padres/Phillies/Brewers right now. Opposite them is the 2 seed, which will play the winner of 4/5. That could be any combination from Braves, Mets, Phillies, Padres in a number of different seeds. Most likely of which ends with the Braves and Mets playing each other in an NLDS. That would be electric.
Winner moves on to play the winner of the Dodgers-3/6 series in a 7-game NLCS. Jury is out if more or less games helps secure an upset in the long-run. But the playoff format is certainly different this year which means subject to new arguments and failures. One thing I absolutely love is no re-seeding. You know exactly what you're in store for on day 1 and I think that makes for a better tournament.
Truthfully though it's going to be disappointing if the Dodgers don't win it. And I say that knowing just how good everyone else is and the depth with the Wildcard teams. Even so, you can't be in the same conversation with the best MLB teams of all time and then hang your hat on a division title. As crazy it sounds there's just way more desperation on the table when you're this good. The letdown is that significant.
Fortunately they don't lose a lot:
Not one losing streak since June. Only back-to-back losses three times in the 2nd half. Complete runaway train supported by the best offense in the NL in nearly ever single statistical category. And not to get ahead of myself but they have over $100M to spend next offseason on new contracts for the 2023 season meaning this has the potential to be a repeat blog for many seasons coming.
Must be nice.
More about the dynasty and their October run tomorrow on Starting 9.