2017 Los Angeles Dodgers
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2017 Los Angeles Dodgers / Franchise: Los Angeles Dodgers / BR Team Page
Managed by Dave Roberts
History, Comments, Contributions
On June 2nd, the 2017 Los Angeles Dodgers set a team record by recording 26 strikeouts in a 12-inning 2-1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers, and the two teams combined for a National League record 42 Ks. Clayton Kershaw got things started by matching his career-high with 14, including the 2,000th of his career. One of the other stars of the early season, rookie OF Cody Bellinger, hit a solo homer of Neftali Feliz in the top of the 12th for the winning margin; it was already his 12th homer, barely five weeks into his major league career. Meanwhile, closer Kenley Jansen recorded his 36th strikeout of the year in picking up the win - without having yet issued a walk - setting a new major league record.
The Dodgers won 12 of 13 games starting on June 7th to return to first place on June 21st. In spite of their strong play, they were facing stiff competition from two unexpected sources: the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies, with the three teams bunched up at the top of the NL West and also having the three best records in the National League, with only the Washington Nationals within shouting distance of the trio. Another win on June 22nd completed a four-game sweep of the visiting New York Mets during which they displayed true dominance as they outscored the opponents, 36-11, and banged out 15 homers, including a three-homer game by SS Corey Seager and two-homer games by Bellinger and C Yasmani Grandal. On June 24th, they recorded their 9th straight win by shutting out the Rockies, 4-0, behind the pitching of Kershaw. They had now won 14 of 15 games to become the first National League team to 50 wins. The streak reached 10 wins before being snapped in a 4-0 loss at the hands of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on June 26th. On July 8th, they became just the fourth team in the last 40 years to record 60 wins before the All-Star break, then added one more on the final Sunday before the break, thanks to a complete game win by Kershaw. Their 61 wins led the majors, and were one more than the Houston Astros' 60, as the Texans became the 5th team to record the magic mark before the break. Their excellent first half was reflected in the fact that six Dodgers players were chosen for the All-Star team.
The Dodgers started the second half the same way they had ended the first, sweeping their first series on the road against the Miami Marlins to extend their winning streak to nine games. During the series, Bellinger had become the first rookie in team history to hit for the cycle, while another All-Star, Justin Turner hit a game-winning homer on July 16th. Turner was hitting a scorching .374 at the end of that game. The sweep of the Marlins improved their overall record to 64-29, for a winning percentage of .688, higher than the highest in franchise history, .682, set in 1953. They were also 29-4 dating back to their hot streak in early June. A 1-0 win over the Chicago White Sox on July 18th, the major league-leading 15th win for Kershaw, gave them their second ten-game winning streak of the season. They defeated the White Sox again the next day to make it 11 straight, then lost, 6-3, to the Atlanta Braves on July 20th. On July 25th, they became the first team to 70 wins in the majors with a 6-2 win over the Minnesota Twins.
At the trading deadline on July 31st, the Dodgers made it clear that they were going all in to win a World Series title. They netted three experienced pitchers, including the prize catch among all players being dangled to contenders in Texas Rangers starting pitcher Yu Darvish. Also added were relievers Tony Watson and Tony Cingrani. To do this, the Dodgers did something they had been hesitant to do in past years - trade away some prospects: three were sent to the Rangers for Darvish, and two more to acquire the other two relievers, in addition to OF-1B Scott Van Slyke.
With a win over the Diamondbacks on August 10th - Darvish's second in his first two stars - the Dodgers ensured themselves to finish at .500 or better, claiming their 81st victory of the year against only 33 losses. They were in fact on pace for a win total of historic proportion and seemed hardly to miss the presence of Kershaw, out since July 23rd, or 1B Adrian Gonzalez, out since June 12th. One sign of hopw dominant the Dodgers had been was that on August 13th, their lead in the NL West had grown to 18 games - the largest lead by a Dodgers team at any point since the creation of divisions in 1969. With another win on August 15th, they reached a whopping 50 games above .500, at 84-34. On August 23rd, shortly after losing Bellinger to an ankle injury, they suffered a rare loss against the Pittsburgh Pirates in spite of a tremendous pitching performance by Rich Hill. That night, Hill almost took a perfect game into extra innings, but a 9th-inning error by 3B Logan Forsythe but a blemish on his performance; still, he pitched 9 no-hit innings at PNC Park, but for once the Dodgers failed to score that night. After a scoreless top of the 10th, Hill returned to attempt to prolong his no-hitter, but gave up a lead-off homer to Josh Harrison to lose the game, 1-0. He was the first pitcher to lose a no-hitter in extra innings since Pedro Martinez in 1995. Shortly thereafter, the Dodgers ran into their first cold spell of the season, losing five straight games at the end of August.
The brief losing streak ended when Clayton Kershaw returned on September 1st and defeated the San Diego Padres, 1-0. However, it was just a short reprieve as the losing skein started anew immediately after that win. On September 4th, a 13-0 loss at the hands of the Diamondbacks was marked by J.D. Martinez becoming the 18th player in major league history to have a four-homer game. This was followed by two more losses to the D-Backs over the following two days, as the Dodgers were swept twice by their closest rivals in three-game series in the span of nine days. If the Dodgers were counting on Kershaw to stop the skid again on September 7th, it did not work, as he was chased before completing 4 innings in a 9-1 loss to the Rockies, for the team's 12th loss in 13 games. While the team was not in panic mode - they were still virtually assured of winning the division -, there was certainly concern as the losing was more than just a bump in the road. They lost to the Rockies again the next two days as well, as the puzzling skein continued: it was now 14 of 15 and 9 straight losses, the team's worst losing streak since 1992. An 8-1 loss to Colorado on September 10th extended the hoodoo streak to 10 losses and 15 out out of 16. They lost again the next day, this time to the San Francisco Giants, in a game that featured rain delays of 42 minutes and 2 hours and 52 minutes at AT&T Park before the final score of 8-6 in favor of the Giants was in the books. They finally ended the losing streak on September 12th, when they defeated the Giants, 5-3, as Kershaw was the man to stop the losing, giving his team a strong performance when they needed it most. Incidentally, that win clinched a postseason slot for the Dodgers for a fifth straight year.
Awards and Honors
- All-Stars: Cody Bellinger, Kenley Jansen, Clayton Kershaw, Corey Seager, Justin Turner and Alex Wood
- Richard Justice: "8 reasons why 2017 is Dodgers' year: Los Angeles on pace for historic number of wins", mlb.com, July 17, 2017. 
- Gabe Lacques: "After Dodgers' 1-15 stretch, is there a new team to beat in the National League?", USA Today Sports, September 10, 2017. 
- Bob Nightengale: "Dodgers' Yu turn all but ensures long-awaited October glory", USA Today Sports, July 31, 2017. 
- Bob Nightengale: "Big Blue Machine: Inside the brain trust that created the unstoppable Los Angeles Dodgers", USA Today Sports, August 14, 2017. 
- Jorge L. Ortiz: "MLB team report: For Dodgers, time to win is now", USA Today Sports, February 15, 2017. 
- Jorge L. Ortiz: "Dodgers dominating since Cody Bellinger's arrival to the bigs", USA Today Sports, July 12, 2017. 
- Jorge L. Ortiz: "For slumping Dodgers, no need to panic, but many causes for concern", USA Today Sports, September 7, 2017. 
- Mike Petriello: "Depth gives Dodgers' rotation luxury of skipped starts: Starters' 3.95 ERA ranked sixth in MLB last season", mlb.com, February 17, 2017. 
- Mike Petriello: "Haves and have lots: Dodgers-Astros debate: MLB boasts two clubs with 60 wins at All-Star break for first time since 1969", mlb.com, July 13, 2017. 
- Mike Petriello: "15 stats to explain Dodgers' historic season: LA on pace to win 115 games, challenge all-time record", mlb.com, August 8, 2017. 
- Kevin Santo: "The Dodgers' historic hot streak: How their 29-4 run came together", USA Today Sports, July 17, 2017. 
- Kevin Santo: "Dodgers dominance: At 79-32, on course for historic season", USA Today Sports, August 7, 2017.