It hasn’t all been easy for the 2015 Dodgers. They got a combined 23 innings from Brandon McCarthy and Hyun-Jin Ryu. Jimmy Rollins has been a mess. Chris Hatcher was awful before he was injured. Carl Crawford has missed most of the year. Yasiel Puig missed a month. Scott Baker, Juan Nicasio, David Huff, and Yimi Garcia all started games. The offense spent a month not scoring. Juan Uribe is gone.
That’s not to say there haven’t been happy surprises — Brett Anderson! Mike Bolsinger! Andre Ethier! Joc Pederson! Justin Turner! Yasmani Grandal! — to make up for that, because there have. But based on the tenor of fans tweeting at me, or writing hilarious complaints to the LA Times about trading Puig or firing Don Mattingly, or what Dustin hears when he punishes himself by listening to Dodger Talk — there’s seemingly a lot of disappointment in what we’ve seen. The general feeling is about what you’d expect if the team were mired in fourth place.
This is, of course, insane. The Dodgers have the fifth-best winning percentage in baseball. Their 4.5 game lead over San Francisco is tied with Kansas City for the largest division lead in the game. And their record through 90 games is not only better than it was last year, it’s better than it’s been since 2009, and compares favorably with that mark over the last 20 seasons. Thanks to the wonderful baseball-reference:
|Through 90 games, 1996-2015|
Remember how we spent the entire winter talking about how the new front office was focused on improved depth? This is why. It’s because it allows the team to weather the troubles noted above without collapsing.
The team you see right now isn’t the team you’d see kicking off the NLDS, anyway. There’d be another starting pitcher or two — we’ve talked about Jeff Samardzija, Scott Kazmir, Mike Leake, Johnny Cueto, etc., endlessly — and Hector Olivera and maybe Corey Seager and probably some other name we can’t even conceive of right now. But the team we’ve seen so far hasn’t been a disappointment at all. It’s been pretty damn good. Time to accept that, everyone.