In his seminal 2000 book “The Tipping Point,” author Malcolm Gladwell identified a handful of small phenomena that predict wider epidemics. The Dodgers’ next four games could be one of those small phenomena.
If that seems a bit arbitrary, it is. Play along for a minute anyway.
On SportsIllustrated.com, Jay Jaffe tracked down the 16 major-league teams that have won at least 40 games over a 50-game stretch. Of the 16 teams, 15 reached the postseason and 13 reached the World Series. Two of the 40-win teams reached the World Series after divisional expansion in 1969: the 1998 Yankees and the 1975 Reds. (The 1977 Royals and 2001 Mariners did not.)
Now I don’t know if the 1912 New York Giants, whose 43-7 mark set the 50-game standard, could survive three rounds of playoffs and still win a World Series. I also don’t know if 50 games is the exact Tipping Point for identifying World Series-bound teams, the sample size that separates the champions from the streaky.
What I do know is that if the Dodgers go 2-2 in their next four games, they will do something achieved by only 16 other teams in major-league history — 81.3 percent of whom have gone on to reach the World Series. I like those odds.
Some links for a national left-hander’s day (which might favor Hyun-Jin Ryu tonight against Matt Harvey):
• Sometime today, team president Stan Kasten will arrive in Cooperstown, New York for the quarterly MLB owners meetings. It was at these meetings last year in Denver where Kasten and Boston Red Sox owner John Henry laid the groundwork for the nine-player trade involving Adrian Gonzalez.
• As Austin’s dad points out, the Dodgers have won 38 games since June 22 and the Houston Astros have won 37 all season.
• For celebrities, being yourself means getting behind a front-runner; for Don Mattingly, being yourself means “trying to make baseball decisions” — simple but effective, colleague Jill Painter explains.
• Harvey was drafted by the Angels in 2007, offered half of the $2 million signing bonus he was seeking, and hasn’t pitched in Southern California until today, colleague Vincent Bonsignore writes.
• Onelki Garcia, the Dodgers’ third-round draft pick from a year ago, made his Triple-A debut yesterday with Albuquerque and pitched a 1-2-3 inning. The scouting report:
Well, Garcia's curve is legit. Fastball in mid-90s but command isn't quite there. Still gets #Topes through inning unscathed (4-3, F-7, 1-3)
— Chris Jackson (@TopesWriter) August 13, 2013
• Last year’s draft is already looking like a big one for the Dodgers. First-round pick Corey Seager, 19, just reached Single-A, Garcia just reached Triple-A, and second-round pick Paco Rodriguez is being discussed as a Rookie of the Year candidate if Puig and Ryu aren’t in the room.
• A brief follow-up to the tale of the banana-throwing Giants fan.
• If you follow this blog and have a vested interest in Long Beach-area high school sports, at any level, read this.
• Because the man was a genius, I’m offering up two straight days of Ramsey Lewis tunes.