The Los Angeles Dodgers entered their 126th season looking to defend their two consecutive division titles of the National League West. While the team fell in four games to the St. Louis Cardinals in the Division Series (shocking many online sports bettors), their players enjoyed a number of milestones. Pitcher Clayton Kershaw led the majors in wins and earned run average; shortstop Dee Gordon led the majors in triples and stolen bases; and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez led MLB in the runs batted in category.
In the front office, Andrew Friedman was brought on board as the President of Baseball Operations, while Farhan Zaidi was hired to replace Ned Colletti as General Manager. The duo wasted no time in making changes to the roster, performing around 30 off-season deals.
The team’s bullpen was bolstered by the addition of free agent signees Brandon McCarthy and Brett Anderson. McCarthy signed for four years and $48 million, while Anderson signed a one-year deal worth $10 million. Infielder Hector Olivera was also added, and his six-year contact was valued at $62.5 million.
A number of trades also took place between the Dodgers and other MLB franchises. Outfielder Matt Kemp and $32 million were sent to the Padres to in exchange for pitcher Joe Wieland and catcher Yasmani Grandal, while minor league pitchers Zach Eflin and Tom Windle were shipped to the Phillies for shortstop Jimmy Rollins.
The most involved trade included second baseman Dee Gordon, infielder Miguel Rojas, starting pitcher Dan Haren, and a player to be named later. These players were sent to the Marlins in order to acquire catcher Austin Barnes, reliever Chris Hatcher, infielder/outfielder Enrique Hernandez, and pitcher Andrew Heaney. Following this trade, pitcher Andrew Heaney was then sent to the Angels for second baseman Howie Kendrick.
The team’s regular season opened on April 6th at Dodgers Stadium against the San Diego Padres. To begin the year, the following players were in the lineup:
Adrian Gonzalez got off to a hot start, becoming the first player in MLB history to have five home runs in the first three games of the season. The knack for homers eventually extended to the whole team, and the Dodgers closed out the month with a league-leading mark of 32 home runs in 21 games.
While they were swept in a three-game stretch against the Giants, the Dodgers performed better against the other clubs on their schedule. The middle of the month was especially solid, as the team went on a 7-game winning streak. They closed out April with a record of 13 wins and 8 losses.
The month of May started strong courtesy of a sweep against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Joc Pederson made headlines, becoming the first Dodgers rookie since Bill Sudakis in 1969 to go yard in four consecutive games.
Things got tough in the middle to latter stages of the month. The Dodgers were swept in a three-game road trip against the Giants, and this led to an unfortunate 35-inning scoreless streak. The team rebounded by winning 2 of 3 against both the Padres and the Braves, but their record for the month of May closed out at 16 wins and 12 losses.
June was an up and down month for the team, as each win seemed to be followed by a stretch of heartbreaking losses. The Dodgers bullpen struggled, with relievers often coughing up wins.
The team’s bats didn’t let them down, however. Joc Pederson set a franchise record for rookie home runs prior to the All-Star break, and the team also boasted six players with home run totals in the double digits. This latter had only been achieved twice before at that point in the season, and both of those occurred in the 1970s.
The team finished with 15 wins and 15 losses in June. This brought their regular season record to a respectable 44 wins and 35 losses.
Zack Greinke managed to pitch four scoreless innings on July 4th, which marked his 4th consecutive start without allowing a run. Clayton Kershaw also reminded fans of his value, striking out 13 and pitching a complete game shutout against the Phillies on July 8th.
The middle of the month was marked by the 86th All-Star Game, and the Dodgers sent five players to represent their team. Zack Greinke and Joc Pederson started the game, with the latter becoming the first Dodgers rookie position player to ever do so. Clayton Kershaw, Yasmani Grandal, and Adrian Gonzalez also got a chance to display their skillset.
The team went 7-6 to close out the month, bringing their total for July to 14 wins and 10 losses. At this stage of the season, their overall record was 58 wins and 45 losses.
Clayton Kershaw was in the spotlight in the month of August. The veteran pitcher recorded his 200th strikeout for the sixth season in a row, making him only the 10th MLB pitcher in history to do so. He also became the first pitcher to get multiple streaks of 37 or more scoreless innings since Red Sox great Luis Tiant in the late 60s and early 70s.
Despite a stretch of five losses against the Athletics and Astros, the team managed to end the month on a high note. They won six of their last seven, and their bats drove in 27 runs during this period. The Dodgers finished 15-12 for August, which brought their season record to 73 wins and 57 losses.
New acquisition Chase Utley hit his first homer with the Dodgers, and the team got off to a hot start in the month of September by winning seven of their first eight games (hopefully you placed some good parlays at 5Dimes). Zach Greinke extended his record to 16-3 during this stretch, and reliever Kenley Jansen getting his 31st save of the year.
By the middle of September, the Dodgers had compiled a season record of 81-60 (47-21 at home and 34-39 on the road). This was good enough for first place in the National League West, leading the second-place Giants by 7 ½ games.