The Dodgers can venture into rare territory on Tuesday night, but to do so they have to beat one of the best pitchers in the National League this season in Matt Harvey of the Mets. But perhaps on International Left-Handers Day, Dodgers southpaw Hyun-jin Ryu can make everyone scramble for weird-handled scissors to cut out the clippings.
The Dodgers are 39-10 in their last 49 games and with a win on Tuesday will become the first National League team since the 1975 Reds to win at least 40 games in a 50-game span.
It has happened in the American League a few times since then, with the 1977 Royals, 1977 Yankees, 1998 Yankees, 2001 Athletics, 2001 Mariners and 2005 Athletics all turning the trick. But winning 40 out of 50 has only happened 12 times since 1950, roughly once every five years or so.
But the Dodgers aren't just 39-10. The front end of that streak features a win and two losses. The Dodgers are 38-8 in their last 46 games, so they could really move into the stratosphere with four more wins. The last MLB team to go 42-8 was the 1942 Cardinals. Getting at least 42 wins in 50 games is a feat only accomplished four times since 1901, topped by the 1906 Cubs, who were an absurd 45-5 over their best stretch.
The best 50-game stretch in Dodgers franchise history came in 1899, when Brooklyn was 41-9. Every single MLB team that has won at least 41 of 50 games, 15 in all, has gone to the World Series in that season.
But first things first, the Dodgers will need to beat Harvey, who leads the majors in FIP (1.99), xFIP (2.54) and fWAR (5.6), and leads the National League with 178 strikeouts, four ahead of Clayton Kershaw. Harvey is second in the NL to Kershaw in both ERA (2.09) and rWAR (5.4).
Harvey is coming off his first career shutout in his last start, though it wasn't his only start this season with nine scoreless innings. Harvey in his last five starts has a 1.47 ERA with 37 strikeouts against just two walks.
The Dodgers scored three runs off Harvey in six innings at Citi Field on April 24.
Ryu has been similarly stingy with walks of late, with just one free pass issued in his last three starts, to go with 22 strikeouts in 19⅓ innings. Ryu is 5-1 with a 1.83 ERA in 10 home starts, with 58 strikeouts and 18 walks in 68⅔ innings in his starts at Dodger Stadium.
Ryu struck out eight in seven innings against the Mets on April 25. He allowed just one run but got a no-decision in a game ultimately won by the Dodgers, 3-2.
|MLB teams since 1901 to go 40-10|
|*went to World Series; Source: Baseball-Reference Play Index|
Time: 7:10 p.m.