The nature of baseball is such that anything can happen on any given day, especially given the daily grind of a long season. No matter the discrepancy in talent, the best teams losing one out of every three games to the worst teams is considered a success.
Which makes the Dodgers’ recent success over the Pirates even more stunning.
The last time the Dodgers lost a series to the Pirates was in 2016. Over their last 25 meetings, Los Angeles has 23 wins, and one of the two losses was when Rich Hill took a no-hitter into the 10th inning.
The disparity between teams isn’t all that surprising. The Dodgers’ year-end payroll the previous five seasons, per Cot’s Baseball Contracts, ranked first, fourth, fifth, first and first in MLB, while the Pirates during those years ranked 25th, 26th, 28th, 29th, and 30th. To start 2022, the Dodgers’ payroll is second-highest and Pittsburgh is 28th. They are on different planets.
As you might expect, the results on the field reflect the chasm, with the Dodgers owning the best record in the sport since the start of the 2017 season (470-265, .639), and the Pirates 25th (317-417, .432).
Even if you think the Dodgers’ have an 80-percent chance of winning each game over the Pirates — a figure that seems absurdly high given the nature of the sport — the odds of Los Angeles beating Pittsburgh 16 times in a row is roughly 2.8 percent, or about one in 36.
But that’s exactly what happened.
The last Dodgers loss to the Pirates came on June 6, 2018, at PNC Park. Since then the they are 16-0, outscoring Pittsburgh by almost four runs per game, on average.
Sixteen wins in a row matches the Dodgers’ longest win streak against a single team, dating back to at least 1901. They also beat the Padres in 16 straight games from 1973-74, when San Diego was still relatively close to being an expansion team, in their fifth and sixth seasons.
A win by the Dodgers on Monday would put their supremacy over the Pirates above all other streaks in franchise history.
Several Dodgers have thrived against the Pirates since 2017:
- Max Muncy: .339/.434/.662, 6 HR, 3 doubles, 13 RBI, 19 runs
- Cody Bellinger: .282/.374/.654, 8 HR, 5 doubles, 19 RBI, 22 runs
- Chris Taylor: .358/.448/.568, 3 HR, 6 doubles, 18 RBI, 15 runs
- Justin Turner: .362/.482/.478, 2 HR, 2 doubles, 5 RBI, 16 runs
The previous longest Dodgers streak over the Pirates was a 13-game run, all in 1952. It didn’t happen this way at all, but you can think of Pittsburgh snagging Roberto Clemente in the Rule 5 Draft just two years later as a consolation prize of sorts.
It beats a year’s supply of Rice-A-Roni.
- Teams: Dodgers (19-7) at Pirates (11-16)
- Location: PNC Park, Pittsburgh
- Time: 3:35 p.m. PT
- TV: SportsNet LA