The Los Angeles Dodgers put together the first 43-7 stretch since the 1912 New York Giants, and went on a 50-10 run. That propelled them to a substantial lead in the National League West and for best overall record.
The Dodgers became the first team this season to reach 90 wins, and their prolific success prompted Sports Illustrated to feature them on the cover of their magazine: “Best. Team. Ever?” That was met by a historic slide.
Los Angeles became the first team in MLB history to win 15 of 16 and lose 15 of 16 games in the same season. Their 11-game losing streak was the longest in franchise history since 1944.
Despite never losing their place atop the NL West and overall standings, a 1-16 stretch prompted whispers of the worst collapse in professional sports. The downward spiral was similar to one Brandon McCarthy experienced with the 2005 Chicago White Sox.
Then, like this season, much of the hysteria was outside the clubhouse, McCarthy explained to Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times:
“I remember the panic was extremely external,” McCarthy said. “It was media going on about how this was going to be the biggest collapse ever. On the inside, I don’t remember it being much different. You just keep playing, and eventually things regress back to the mean in your direction. If you’re a good team, you’re a good team. You let the hysteria sit on the outside. On the inside, it just stays a group of guys: you do your workout, you do your things, and then you go play baseball.”
The White Sox had their lead in the American League Central slashed from double digits to 1.5 games on Sept. 22, 2015. They won eight of their final 10 regular-season games, and went 11-1 in the playoffs. Included in that was a sweep of the Houston Astros in the World Series.
Several Dodgers, including manager Dave Roberts stressed the importance of remaining diligent and consistent in their preparation even while the end result was not favorable. Though, Justin Turner did say the Dodgers at the time were indicative of their stretch, and thus the worst team in baseball.
Since snapping their losing streak this week, the Dodgers are on a modest two-game winning streak. Three weeks remain to further distance themselves from what’s been one of the worst stretches in franchise history.
The Dodgers have already clinched a fifth consecutive trip to the postseason. Their magic number to claim the NL West title sits at seven.