The Dodgers are a good team if Rubby De La Rosa and Patrick Corbin beat the Mets the next two days. They’re a bad team if David Buchanan and Chad Billingsley beat the Giants the next two days. Or vice versa. I can’t even keep it straight any longer. See how insane that is?
Yet that’s apparently true, based on the “Dodgers can’t beat the good teams” narrative that just won’t die. (That story linked because it’s recent, but this has been everywhere for a while.) You get why, anyway. They’re 8-18 against teams over .500, and 42-20 against teams under. It’s an easy meme. It’s also completely bogus, for more than a few reasons.
First of all, all that matters is getting to the playoffs, which is, winning games. Entry to the October tournament isn’t “how many games did you win against teams over .500,” it’s games won, period. That’s it. Second, we should all know by now that winning a regular season series doesn’t actually have anything to do with beating that same team in October; too many seem to forget that the Dodgers actually won the 2014 season series against the Cardinals. (Also worth noting: Yes, the Dodgers have lost 5 of 7 against St. Louis this year, but that’s less “the Cards have their number” and more “the Cards have everyone’s number,” because they’re the best team in baseball.)
But most of all, it’s because that stat can change so easily based on the fluctuations of teams above or below the .500 line. So if the Giants (44-43, and 9-3 against the Dodgers) lose the next two to fall under .500, and the D’Backs (42-43, and 3-9 against the Dodgers) each move to the other side of that threshold by the end of the weekend, suddenly this is how it would look for the Dodgers:
Against teams at or over .500: 14-12
Against teams at or under .500: 36-26
Voila. That’s it. With absolutely no action by the Dodgers, suddenly this entire thing could be flipped on its head. This is so, so stupid. Let’s stop talking about this forever.