If you were to flip a coin 48 times, the chance of the coin landing on “heads” 40 times would be near zero. Now if out of those 48 times, you have a coin that has a “tails” bias. Getting “heads” 40 times is even closer to zero.
The Dodgers are on an incredible run. They have won 40 of their last 48 games. Ten of those games have been won by a one-run margin. In those games won, 15 have been won when the Dodgers win-expectancy was below 20 percent. Let me make that clearer, the Dodgers have won games that they have had no business winning (Go home, Dodgers. You’re drunk.) I like to consider myself the biggest Dodgers fan, right after Jesus and Lasorda, but the reality is that this streak can not and will not last. The statistics just won’t allow it.
Using simple statistics, all you have to do is flip a coin 48 times and see if you can get “heads” 40 times. It’s possible, but highly unlikely. Thanks to Mike Petriello‘s analysis of the Dodgers BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In Play), the Dodgers streak of amazing hitting is unsustainable. BABIP is not so much of a gauge of a hitter’s effectiveness, rather it will tell you – albeit roughly – if a player is having a hot streak or a cold streak. Anything well above or well below .290 is characteristic of a hot streak or cold streak, respectively. The only Dodgers player with a BABIP under .290 is Scott Van Slyke at .270. Everyone on the regular roster is over .290. While I’d hardly call players like Hanley Ramirez (BABIP career/season: .335/.395) or Adrian Gonzalez (.323/.313) streaky hitters, everyday players like Mark Ellis (.293/.314) and Juan Uribe (.280/.308) are. When you pepper the lineup with guys like Nick Punto and Skip Schumaker, you’re asking hitters that are getting lucky to continue being lucky. And when the rosters expand in a little over two weeks, the Dodgers will be asking players like Dee Gordon, Jerry Hairston, Jr., et al. to simply get a hit.
Don’t get me wrong, I love that the Dodgers are on a record setting pace. I love that these last 40 wins have put the Dodgers twenty games over .500 and have given them a 7.5 game lead in the NL West. But the magic does die and the luck ends. Eventually, the mult-million dollar deals will have to continue to produce and the injury prone superstars will have to stay healthy long enough to get through the playoffs.