The Los Angeles Dodgers concluded the regular season with a victory over the Colorado Rockies, extending their record to a Major League-best 104-60. The 104 wins marked the highest total in franchise history since the club relocated to Los Angeles in 1958.
Heading into September, the Dodgers were a remarkable 91-41 an at one point on pace to tie an MLB record with 116 wins. Adversity soon kicked in, however, as the club proceeded to drop a league-worst 11 consecutive games and 16 out of 17 from Aug. 26 to Sept. 11.
During that stretch, the Dodgers posted a run differential of -59 and averaged 2.5 runs per game, in addition to allowing an average of six runs per contest. Various injuries to key players such as Corey Seager and Justin Turner surely didn’t help the cause.
Los Angeles eventually turned it around and won eight of its final 10 games to close out the season, ultimately clinching its fifth consecutive NL West title and home-field advantage through the World Series along the way.
All-in-all, the Dodgers completed September with a 13-17 record (including the first day of October) — their only month this season with a losing record.
Despite the unforeseeable skid, betting odds still strongly favor the Dodgers reaching their first World Series in 29 years.
Ahead the Dodgers beginning their NL Division Series matchup with the Arizona Diamondbacks, let’s review the four most-recent World Series champions and see how they fared during the month of September.
2016 Chicago Cubs
Led by NL MVP Kris Bryant, the Cubs steamrolled through the league for most of the season and went on to end a 108-year World Series drought. Their play was particularly impressive during the second half, as the Cubs posted a 50-23 record after the All-Star Game.
Having just one month all year with a losing record — a 12-14 showing in July — the Cubs seemingly got stronger during the dog days of summer. A 22-6 display in August preceded an excellent 18-11 record over the final calendar month to close out the regular season.
While this year’s Dodgers team didn’t quite have that same success in September, they were far more triumphant during the first half. Los Angeles posted a 61-29 record prior to the All-Star break this season, while the 2016 Cubs reached the midway point at 53-35.
2015 Kansas City Royals
With a 90-72 pythagorean record, the Royals defied all odds entering the postseason.
The club didn’t have a bonafide ace, with the exception of midseason acquisition Johnny Cueto, who wasn’t even at full health. With the help of its elite bullpen and timely hitting, the Royals snapped a 30-year World Series drought of their own, but it wasn’t without some hiccups along the way.
Kansas City followed up a 19-9 performance in August with a concerning 11-17 record in the month of September. The brief setback proved to be nothing more than a bump in the road.
The Royals still clinched the American League Central and went on to win their final four regular season games in October.
The Dodgers are in a similar position. They posted a solid 17-10 record this past August, and that includes a five-game losing streak to end the month. While their 13-17 record in September/October was unfulfilling, they still clinched the NL West and finished the regular season on a high note.
2014 San Francisco Giants
Despite winning just 88 games and finishing in second place to the Dodgers in the NL West, the Giants went on to capture their third championship in five seasons.
From June to July of that season, San Francisco posted a collective record of 22-30 but still finished 10 games above .500 during the first half. After the All-Star Game, the Giants hovered around mediocrity.
They were a combined 35-31 in August and September. In the latter month, the Giants went 13-12 with a -12 run differential.
The late-season lull didn’t disrupt the Giants’ postseason plans. They faced two elimination games during the duration of the playoffs and won both contests, including Game 7 of the World Series against the Royals on the road.
2013 Boston Red Sox
With a team full of new faces after a last-place finish in 2012, the Red Sox quickly developed a winning culture and won its third Fall Classic in nine years.
Unlike the previous three World Series winners, the 2013 Red Sox did not have a single losing month during the season. After posting a 58-39 record prior to the All-Star break, including an 18-8 display in April, the club was even better during the second half.
A 39-26 record (.600 winning percentage), behind a 16-9 run in September, helped Boston clinch the AL East and home-field advantage through the AL Championship Series.
The Red Sox took that momentum and cruised in the postseason, losing a total of five games in three series.