The Dodgers go for a third straight win on Wednesday night against the Pirates in Pittsburgh, but the number to watch isn’t three. It’s four.
When the Dodgers score four or more runs, they win.
For over the last two months, that has been literally true. On June 15 in their series finale in Cleveland, the Dodgers lost to the Indians, 12-5.
Since then, every time they have scored four or more runs, they have won. Thirty-nine straight wins. That includes each of the first two games at PNC Park, where the Dodgers scored six and eight runs to beat the Pirates.
Per STATS LLC, there have only been two streaks longer in baseball history — the 1954 Indians won 42 straight games when scoring four or more runs, and the 1906 Giants won 41 straight.
Given how strong the Dodgers pitching has been the last few years, getting to four runs has generally produced good results. In their previous four years — all division-winning teams — the team was 275-63 (.814) when scoring four or more runs.
The entire MLB during that span was 7,652-2,683 (.740). The point is, scoring four or more runs is generally a very good thing.
The 2017 Dodgers have taken that a step further, going 74-7 (.914) when scoring four or more runs.
Dating back to 1913, the first year that the great Baseball-Reference Play Index has full game log data, there have only been nine teams to win 90 percent of games when scoring four or more runs. Seven of the nine won their league pennant, though only two — the 1943 Yankees and 1990 Reds — won the World Series.
The Dodgers are trying to make it 10 teams, and at the moment own the fifth-best winning percentage in such games in the last 105 seasons.
.900 win% when scoring 4+ runs
|Orioles||1968||67-6||0.918||2nd in AL|
|Red Sox||1946||87-9||0.906||AL pennant|
|White Sox||1964||63-7||0.900||2nd in AL|
The 1913 New York Giants own the top spot, going 76-5 (.938) in such games. There aren’t enough games remaining this season for the Dodgers to top that mark, but they could conceivably get to number two. That belongs to the 1943 Cardinals, who were 78-6 (.929) when scoring four or more runs.
If the Dodgers were to win their next 17 such games, they would match that winning percentage (.929), at 91-7.
Stranger things have happened.
The best mark when scoring four runs in Dodgers history, dating back to 1913, is 86-12 (.878), by the 1952 team.
Even at the lower end of the scale, the Dodgers are winning at a ridiculous rate. When they score exactly four runs, they are 8-1 (.889). The rest of MLB is 221-255 (.464).
When scoring exactly five runs, the Dodgers are 12-3 (.800), and the 29 other teams are a combined 253-171 (.597).
Not only have the Dodgers had ridiculous success when scoring four or more runs, but they have also reached that mark more than almost everybody. The Rangers have scored four or more runs 81 times, same as the Dodgers, and the Astros have done so 82 times.
That sounds like a recipe for success.
In the third game of the series, the Dodgers face Trevor Williams, who has allowed four or more runs in each of his last two starts, including eight runs in just three innings in his last time out, Friday at home against St. Louis.
Time: 4:05 p.m. PT
TV: SportsNet LA