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Dodgers reach 40 wins first in 2019

Last three teams to win 40 games first won the World Series, will the Dodgers be the fourth straight?

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Los Angeles Dodgers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES — — By winning last night, the Dodgers recorded their 40th win before playing their 60th game of the season. How significant is that random fact?

Well, if you look at the last three seasons, the teams that won their 40th game first that season all won the World Series that year.

  • 2016 - Chicago Cubs won their 40th game in their 56th game and were 41-18 at the 59th game mark.
  • 2017 Houston Astros also won their 40th game in their 56th game and they were 42-17 after they played their 59th game.
  • 2018 Boston Red Sox won their 40th game in their 59th game. The 2018 New York Yankees would also accomplish this but their actual 40th win came four days after the Red Sox did it.

Since 1908 (Baseball-Reference Play Index starting point), the Dodgers have won 40 or more games before playing their 60th game seven times including this season.

  • 1942 Brooklyn Dodgers (42-17) would finish their season at 104-50. Unfortunately the St. Louis Cardinals won the pennant that season with a 106-48 record.
  • 1952 Brooklyn Dodgers (43-15 with one tie) won the pennant with a 96-57 record.
  • 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers (44-15) won the first World Series in Dodger history, they went 98-57 in the regular season.
  • 1962 Los Angeles Dodgers (41-18) finished tied for first with the San Francisco Giants. The Dodgers lost a three-game playoff and ended up with a 102-63 record.
  • 1974 Los Angeles Dodgers (42-17) won the pennant and was the second Los Angeles Dodger team to win 100 or more games. Their regular season was 102-60.
  • 1983 Los Angeles Dodgers (40-19) won the National League West with a 91-71 record.

Finally, going back to the rarity of this happening, let’s look at other teams and see how often they have done it.

  • The Braves have four seasons when they did this, three of them, 1997, 1998 and 2003 was during their run of consecutive division titles plus as the Milwaukee Braves in 1953.
  • The St. Louis Cardinals have never 40 or more games prior to their 60th game played.
  • The Cubs have done it three times, 1918, 1969 and the above-mentioned 2016 season.
  • The San Francisco Giants have only won 40 games in their first 59 games played once, in 1962. The other three times it was when they were the New York Giants in 1912, 1918 and 1935.
  • The New York Yankees have done it 10 times and the 2018 team was the first of those ten not to win the American League pennant if not the World Series that season.
  • The 1976 and 1993 Philadelphia Phillies were each 42-17 after 59 games.
  • The Cincinnati Reds have only the 1970 National League pennant winning team that would be 43-16 after 59 games played.
  • The Boston Red Sox were like the Dodgers going into the 2019 season because they also had six teams since 1908 with 40 or more wins by their 59th game played.

Return of the Quality Start

Last night’s Clayton Kershaw seven-inning performance was another quality start for the Dodgers. While some deride the label because a literal quality start would have a 4.50 ERA (3 earned runs in six innings pitched), it is still useful look at your starting rotation if only to see if you are getting enough innings from starters.

The 2019 Dodgers now have 34 quality starts which ties them with the Astros for the most in the majors right now. It also means they are averaging better than one quality start for every two games played this season.

This changes a three-year trend for the Dodgers of their quality start total being the lowest in Los Angeles Dodger history.

The 2016 Dodgers had 60 quality starts which was the lowest number of quality starts in Los Angeles Dodger history. It was lower than the 1981 and 1994 seasons, both of those seasons were impacted by player strikes.

In 2017, the total was 68, which was tied for the second lowest in a full-season of play. And last year, it did go up to 78 quality starts, that is still in the bottom ten seasons in Los Angeles Dodger history.

Welcome to the Walk-off Home Run Club

Last night, Will Smith became the 105th Dodger since 1925 to hit a walk-off home run.

Dodger Walk-off HR (since 1925)

Player Total Walk-off HR
Player Total Walk-off HR
Andre Ethier 7
Duke Snider 7
Gil Hodges 7
Matt Kemp 6
Davey Lopes 5
Dusty Baker 5
Jackie Robinson 5
Joe Ferguson 5
Ron Cey 5
Adrian Beltre 4
Dolph Camilli 4
Pedro Guerrero 4
Tommy Davis 4
Carl Furillo 3
Charlie Neal 3
Eric Karros 3
Mike Piazza 3
Nomar Garciaparra 3
Raul Mondesi 3
Roy Campanella 3
Steve Garvey 3
Bill Russell 2
Darryl Strawberry 2
Daryl Spencer 2
Del Bissonette 2
Don Zimmer 2
Frank Howard 2
Gary Sheffield 2
Jeff Hamilton 2
Jim Bucher 2
Jim Wynn 2
Johnny Frederick 2
Kevin Elster 2
Mike Marshall 2
Pete Reiser 2
Rick Monday 2
Russell Martin 2
Scott Van Slyke 2
Trayce Thompson 2
Willie Crawford 2
Willie Davis 2
Yasmani Grandal 2
A.J. Ellis 1
Al Ferrara 1
Al Lopez 1
Andy Pafko 1
Babe Phelps 1
Bill Buckner 1
Bill Sudakis 1
Charlie Culberson 1
Chris Gwynn 1
Chris Taylor 1
Chuck Essegian 1
Danny Taylor 1
Dave Hansen 1
David Ross 1
Delino DeShields 1
Dick Allen 1
Dioner Navarro 1
Don Demeter 1
Eric Young Sr. 1
Frank Robinson 1
Franklin Stubbs 1
George Shuba 1
Gino Cimoli 1
Gordie Windhorn 1
Hack Wilson 1
Hanley Ramirez 1
Harvey Hendrick 1
Hee-Seop Choi 1
Heinie Manush 1
Hubie Brooks 1
Jack Fournier 1
James Loney 1
Jeff Kent 1
Jim Lefebvre 1
Joc Pederson 1
John Hale 1
John Roseboro 1
Jose Gonzalez 1
Kal Daniels 1
Ken McMullen 1
Lefty O'Doul 1
Lonny Frey 1
Lou Johnson 1
Luis Olmo 1
Mark Grudzielanek 1
Mike Sharperson 1
Norm Sherry 1
Olmedo Saenz 1
Paul Lo Duca 1
Ramon Martinez 1
Rick Dempsey 1
Shawn Green 1
Steve Finley 1
Steve Sax 1
Steve Yeager 1
Tim Wallach 1
Todd Zeile 1
Tom Paciorek 1
Tony Cuccinello 1
Wally Moon 1
Will Smith 1
Yasiel Puig 1
Zack Taylor 1

Gil Hodges, Duke Snider and Andre Ethier top the list with seven walk-off home runs. Matt Kemp had six with the Dodgers. Jackie Robinson, Ron Cey, Davey Lopes, Joe Ferguson and Dusty Baker each hit five.

Smith is also the 81st Los Angeles Dodger to hit a walk-off home run and his was the 129th walk-off home run in Dodger Stadium history.