The Dodgers are in the midst of one of the most prolific runs in Baseball history. The hot streak has had many different facets that have contributed to this incredible winning streak. There has been solid pitching, improved offense, Hanley Ramirez, Yasiel Puig, healthier players, better management, improved team/clubhouse chemistry, etc, etc.
Many aspects have played a part in the Dodgers historic turnaround. But if the tale of the NL West could be told, it would be told in the simple form of the run differential. The entire National League could probably be explained through this formula.
It’s pretty simple, run differentials are the difference between how many runs a team scores and how many runs they allow. You take the amount of runs a team has scored, and the amount of runs the team has allowed and subtract one from the other, or take the bigger number and subtract it by the smaller number. If the two numbers were to be equal, then that team would be at a 0 run differential. Or they allowed the same amount of runs as they served up. This is cumulative for the entire season.
So of course the best teams score more runs than they allow. It’s very important to give up less than you score, or vice versa. Look at the Nationals League. Just six teams have a run differential in the plus side. Meaning they’ve scored more than they’ve allowed. Those six teams are Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Dodgers, St. Louis, Cincinnati, and Arizona. Not surprising is those are the teams in first place, and or playoff contenders. You always want to stay in the plus side.
The Cardinals have the top run differential in the National League with a +140. Atlanta is number two with a +121, and Cincinnati is in third with a +68.
Now take a look at the National League West run differentials.
Dodgers 64-50 - 457 430 +27
Arizona 58-55 5.5 473 462 +11
San Diego 52-62 12.0 451 513 -62
Colorado 52-64 13.0 490 524 -34
San Francisco 51-53 13.0 431 490 -59
The Dodgers have the best run differential in the NL West, with a +27. That explains a lot. The Dodgers have been scoring a lot of runs and not allowing a lot of runs. Pretty self-explanatory. Arizona has the second best in the division with a +11, and the rest of the division is pretty bad. The Padres coming in with the worst run differential at a -62. Yeesh. This tells you all you need to know about the National League West this season.
I am sure the Dodger’s differential will continue to improve. Normally the teams with the best run differentials make it to the postseason. This season is no exception. If you score more runs than you allow, or allow less runs than you score, you will find yourself playing Baseball in October. It’s the simple, and most obvious things in Baseball that sometimes get overlooked.