The Los Angeles Dodgers have completely forgotten about their September losing streak. The team has looked a lot more like the club that won a league-high 104 games during the regular season in the playoffs.
Actually, they’ve looked better than that. The Dodgers have been unbeatable thus far, winning all six postseason games they’ve played.
That’s significant, as no team has ever put together a perfect postseason in the current format. Some teams have had perfect postseasons, but that was back when the playoffs were shorter, as Dayn Perry of CBS Sports explains:
Prior to 1969, the regular-season AL and NL champions went straight to the World Series, and 12 of those World Series were sweeps. That means 12 teams in the pre-divisional era had undefeated postseasons, but those spanned just four games. That’s a far cry from clawing through three rounds of playoffs, which is what the Dodgers must do.
Move into the divisional era and you find that the 1976 Reds swept both the NLCS (best-of-five in those days) and World Series. That made for a 7-0 playoff run, which is certainly notable. Move into the current era of the three-tiered playoffs, and the 1999 Yankees and 2005 White Sox stand above all with 11-1 postseason records. If you want to make records out of it, then the ’76 Reds have the most postseason wins without a loss, and the ’99 Yankees and ’05 White Sox share the record for highest postseason winning percentage in the three-round era (i.e. 1995-present). Therein lies the Dodgers’ opportunity.
There you have it. Plenty of clubs were perfect when it only required four games to win a championship. The 1976 Cincinnati Reds were perfect when it took seven games to win a championship.
In the current format, which requires 11 games to win the World Series, (12 if you’re a wild-card team) two teams have come close: The 2005 Chicago White Sox and the 1999 New York Yankees. Both lost one game on their quest for a title.
After Tuesday’s 6-1 win over the Chicago Cubs, the Dodgers are officially halfway there. They impressively dispatched the Arizona Diamondbacks in three games, and now have the reigning champs on the brink of elimination.
It’s pretty obvious to say a team that has gone 6-0 in the postseason has been dominant, but we’ll do it anyway. The Dodgers have a 35-15 run differential in the playoffs. They’ve outscored the D-backs and Cubs by 20 runs. Those two teams were supposed to be good. The Dodgers have steamrolled them thus far.
It’s only been six games, of course. The Dodgers still have to win five more to be perfect, and that’s no easy task. At the same time, there are no glaring weaknesses on their roster. In Game 4 of the National League Championship Series, the team will send Alex Wood to the mound.
Wood had a 2.72 ERA over 152 1/3 innings this season. Had he been healthy for the entire season, he likely would have contended for the National League Cy Young. He’s the Dodgers’ No. 4 starter.
Anything can happen in a short series, obviously, so being the favorite doesn’t mean the Dodgers won’t get upset. Many figured the Cleveland Indians were a shoo-in to reach the World Series, but the Yankees put a stop to that. The Dodgers could easily lose a game or two and still win the World Series in impressive fashion. We don’t think their fans will care how many games they lose as long as it results in a championship.
But what if they actually run the table and produce the first 11-0 postseason? Does that matter?
Probably not. It’s a fun record to have, and it provides bragging rights for fans, but it doesn’t tell you much. No one considers the 2005 White Sox one of the best teams of all-time, even though they only lost one game in the postseason.
The Dodgers are a little different, though. They were so dominant in the regular season that the whole best team of all-time argument might actually make sense if they turn in a perfect postseason. We’re not saying they’re the best team ever, we’re just saying it wouldn’t be crazy to look at it … you know, if it happens.
But now we’re getting too deep into hypotheticals. The Dodgers have been great thus far. With five more wins, they could be historically great. It doesn’t really matter as long as the team hoists the World Series trophy at the end of the season, but the possibility of a perfect postseason is exciting.
Well, unless you’re a fan of the Cubs, Yankees or Houston Astros.
(BLS H/N: Internet gentleman Dayn Perry of CBS Sports)
More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:
– – – – – – –
More from Yahoo Sports:
• NFL star decides to play entire season for free
• Report: Cavs players, owner ‘upset’ with Irving return
• Seahawks’ Sherman blasts NFL owners for Kaepernick ‘excuse’
• Mannix: What’s next for Celtics after heartbreaking injury?