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Dodgers in August: Mookie Betts, Max Muncy on fire

LA went 22-6 during the month

Los Angeles Dodgers v New York Mets Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The Dodgers followed up the second-best July in franchise history with the third-best August. They won just shy of 80 percent of their games over that two-month stretch, to all but lock in their place atop the standings in the National League.

This August, the Dodgers won 22 out of 28 games, and never lost two games in a row, almost a carbon copy, results-wise, of August 2021, when they were 21-6 and also never lost more than one in a row.

At .786 this month, the Dodgers had their third-best August in franchise history, trailing only the juggernaut 1953 Brooklyn team (25-6, .806) and the streaking 2013 Los Angeles squad (23-6, .793).

August results

22-6 record
165 runs scored (5.89 per game, 2nd in MLB)
74 runs allowed (2.64 per game, 1st in MLB)
.813 pythagorean win percentage (23-5)

Year to date

90-39 record
691 runs scored (5.36 per game, 1st in MLB)
405 runs allowed (3.14 per game, 1st in MLB)
.727 pythagorean win percentage (94-35)

Winning 90 games, and not losing 40 games, before September is wild, but it’s also hard to compare with other years that may have started earlier. But using the schedule, the Dodgers are one of just 19 MLB teams dating back to 1901 to win 90 of their first 129 games. The 2017 team was 91-38 through 129 games, for comparison.

Since integration, only seven teams have 90 wins through 129 games.

Once Chris Taylor returned from a broken foot, the regular position players were all healthy for the bulk of August. The “usual nine” — the opening day lineup that made the vast majority of starts during the month (81 percent), with Joey Gallo (15 starts, 56 plate appearances) and Trayce Thompson (11 starts, 55 PA) essentially serving as a timeshare for one spot.

The Dodgers ‘usual nine’

Month Games Starts Pct
Month Games Starts Pct
April 180 165 91.7%
May 261 224 85.8%
June 234 202 86.3%
July 234 184 78.6%
August 252 204 81.0%
Sept/Oct 297 228 76.8%
Totals 1,458 1,207 82.8%
Starts made by the nine players in the Dodgers’ opening day lineup on April 8, 2022

Magic Mookie

Mookie Betts drove the bus on offense with another strong month, hitting .330/.383/.697 in August. He tied for the major league lead with nine home runs during the month, and led everyone with 30 runs scored.

It’s the second time Betts scored 30 runs in a month this season, touching the plate 31 times in May as well. This was the fourth 30-run month of Betts’ career, along with 33 runs in July 2019 and 30 in May 2016.

The stingy ones

Julio Urías has been on a great stretch for nearly three months, but in August he was especially effective, allowing only three runs in 30 innings, with 34 strikeouts.

Tony Gonsolin was on that same track, winning all four starts during the month, allowing only two runs in 23⅔ innings. But he didn’t make his last scheduled August start, instead hitting the injured list with right forearm inflammation.

Out of the bullpen, Evan Phillips allowed no runs in his 11⅔ innings in August, and ended the month by retiring 29 batters in a row. Lefty Alex Vesia was also spotless, giving up no runs in his 11 innings, with 17 strikeouts.

Back in the swing of things

Max Muncy is fully healthy again, and also re-found his swing thanks to a slight adjustment. That got him back to driving the ball hard and controlling the strike zone again, and resulted in almost as many home runs in August (7) as he had in the first four months of the season (9).

He hit .261/.352/.554 with a 150 wRC+ for the month.

Max Muncy’s strong August

April-July 339 20 9 .161/.310/.303 82 .177/.356 .142
August 105 13 7 .261/.352/.554 150 .252/.529 .293

What’s ahead

The Dodgers have 33 games remaining in the regular season, counting five games in October. Twenty of those games are at Dodger Stadium, where the Dodgers have the best home record in the majors at 45-16 (.738). The 20 home games are tied for second-most on any team’s schedule, behind only the Guardians, who have 22 games remaining in Cleveland.