Taking a week off so late in the season was a great time to gain some perspective on just what the Dodgers have done this year. But while I was answering questions from family members about the team and catching pieces of games in scattershot fashion, the Dodgers hit a few milestones last week.
Mookie Betts’ two-run double on Saturday against the Giants gave him 105 RBI this season, which ranks fourth in the National League. But it’s the most runs batted in out of the leadoff spot in any season in major league history.
If Betts hits one more home run this week, he’d have the first season in Dodgers history with 40 home runs and 40 doubles. No major leaguer has had that kind of 40-40 season since 2015, when both Nolan Arenado and Josh Donaldson did it.
Betts and Ronald Acuña Jr. aren’t just battling for National League MVP. They are also dueling for the most home runs hit while batting first in one season. Acuña has the most ever at 40, but Betts is just one behind with one week to play.
After ending last season with 199 hits, Freddie Freeman got to his coveted 200-hit milestone last week with his first-inning single last Friday against Sean Manaea. Freeman, who now has 203 hits with a week left to play, has the Dodgers’ first 200-hit campaign since Adrián Beltré in 2004. There are only a dozen 200-hit seasons by the team since moving to Los Angeles in 1958.
Even if Freeman doesn’t hit any doubles this week, he’s already tied for the 11th-most in a season (57) in major league history. But the Dodgers single-season record holder is still in play for the first 60-double season in 87 years.
Freeman’s 57th double, which was hit on Saturday against San Francisco, was also his 85th extra-base hit of 2023, setting the Los Angeles Dodgers record for a season. The only Dodgers seasons with more extra-base hits came in Brooklyn — Babe Herman had 94 extra-base hits in 1930, and Duke Snider had 89 in 1954.
But it’s not just the hits, or the doubles, or the extra-base hits for Freeman. He also leads the Dodgers with 22 stolen bases, the first Dodgers first baseman with 20 home runs and 20 steals in a season. If Freeman maintains his lead (his 22 steals are six more than anyone else), he’ll be the first Dodgers first baseman to lead the team in steals since Jackie Robinson in 1947.
With Betts and Freeman hitting first and second, and ranking second and third, respectively in the National League in on-base percentage, it’s only natural that they’ve scored a ton of runs. Both Betts and Freeman have scored 125 times this season. The only LA Dodger season with more runs was Tommy Davis scoring 130 runs in 1962.
This is only the third Dodgers season in the modern era (since 1900) with two players scoring at least 125 runs, joining 1945 (Eddie Stanky 128 and Goody Rosen 126) and 1953 (Duke Snider 132 and Jim Gilliam 125). The highest minimum number of runs scored by two Dodgers in one season is 126, in 1945.
Aside from their own home runs, Betts and Freeman were driven in by someone, right?
Max Muncy already has a career high with 103 RBI (and his 36 home runs match his career high). Betts leads the team with 105 RBI. Freeman has 96 RBI, and J.D. Martinez, who was named National League player of the week on Monday, has 98 RBI in only 107 games this season.
The Dodgers have never had four players with 100 RBI in the same season. Since moving to Los Angeles, they’ve never had three 100-RBI players. The last time a Dodgers team had a trio of triple-digit RBI players was 1955, when Duke Snider, Roy Campanella, and Gil Hodges did so while helping Brooklyn to its first championship.
If Martinez gets two more RBI this week, he’ll have the fewest games ever in a 100-RBI season by a Dodger.
Noted Saturday starter Clayton Kershaw pitched five scoreless innings over the weekend against the Giants, and captured his 210th career win to pass Don Drysdale for second-most in Dodgers history. Another notch in the considerable belt for Kershaw’s storied career.
All of these numbers add up to a pretty good team, and the Dodgers enter the season’s final week sitting on 96 wins.
In the first 133 years in franchise history, the Dodgers won 100 games six times. But since 2017, they’ve won 100 games four times in six years, with one of those years cut short by a a pandemic. And that’s before this year.
If they win at least four of their final seven games, they’ll have 100 wins for a fourth consecutive full season in one of the great runs in franchise history.