A funny thing happened to the Dodgers in Canada. Funny things tend to happen in Canada in general.
The Dodgers, having outscored the Toronto Blue Jays 24-14 the past two days, have now scored more runs than they have allowed this season. The margin is slight enough (399 runs scored, 397 runs allowed) that this could change overnight.
Run differential is an interesting topic, as evidenced by a recent debate on MLB Network. Former player and current analyst Harold Reynolds declared “I have no idea what run differential is.” We’re going to assume that you’re smarter than Harold Reynolds and explore what this means for the Dodgers.
For some, it will mean their success is no fluke. In the article linked above, Rob Neyer wrote back on May 28 that the National League West was an anomalous jumble of teams that were outscoring opponents despite their failures in the standings, and this was unlikely to continue:
The Colorado Rockies have the best run differential (+31) … but they’re in third place. Sure, they’re just 2½ games out of first place. But third place is third place, and the Rockies trail the Diamondbacks (+26) and (somewhat oddly) the Giants (+1). Still, everything might look normal in just a few days, or in a week.
That was almost two months ago. Today, the Dodgers (+2) lead the Diamondbacks (+12) by a half-game, the Rockies (+2) by five games, the Giants (-54) by 6 ½ games and the Padres (-57) by eight. It’s starting to look normal. Two months from now, when the season is nearly over, that probably won’t change.
If those run differentials (and prevailing wisdom) are any indication, the Giants and Padres are going to be sunk for a while barring a miraculous turnaround, while the Dodgers will need to string together a few more convincing victories to make their hold on first place last.
Onto some bullet points for a Wednesday morning:
• The Dodgers are baseball’s fourth most popular team, according to a recent Harris Poll. That poll contains some interesting data that can be spun several ways. On the one hand, the Dodgers appear to be at a 14-year high in popularity, while Major League Baseball itself is at a 10-year low. (h/t @SBJSBD)
• Former “Simpsons” writer Ken Levine is throwing out the first pitch in Albuquerque on Saturday, a worthy pitch-thrower. He did sort of name the team, after all.
• The headline in USA Today says it all: “Dodger Stadium is selling miraculous frozen beer foam” … comments on the miracle are welcome below, if you’ve experienced the miracle.
• On the 30-year anniversary of the infamous George Brett/”Pine Tar game,” SI.com has an oral history of the Pine Tar Game.
• Ervin Santana took to YouTube to imply that trade rumors are blowing up the Kansas City Royals’ clubhouse.
• The album “Re.Turn” by Duke Westlake is worth a spin, reminds me of early Diplo or RJD2: