Dodgers End July With Best Record In Majors

The Los Angeles Dodgers wrapped up July with a 17-11 won-lost mark and a four-game winning streak, which not only put them two games ahead of the second-place Padres in the NL West, but gave them a 66-37 record for the season, which in turn was the best record of all 26 teams in the major leagues as the SP78 campaign headed into August. Surprisingly, this was accomplished without the full-time services of Triple Crown contender Reggie Smith, who was limited to just 18 games played after a shoulder injury knocked him out of action for two weeks during the second half of the month.

Helping the Dodgers cause were starting right-hander Burt Hooton, who went 4-0 in July with a 2.22 earned run average and twenty strikeouts, and bullpen ace Terry Forster, who collected five saves while limiting opposing batters to just five hits and one run over nine games, good for a 0.85 ERA. Also making an impact on the mound was rookie Bob Welch, who successfully converted from reliever to starter in July and went 3-1 with a 2.21 ERA in five starts.

At the plate, Smith led LA with a .408 average, eight home runs, and 23 RBI. Lopes’ 34 hits led the team, while Ron Cey was tops in the NL with eleven doubles. However, the most jaw-dropping stat again belongs to Smith, who has an SP78-leading seven 2-HR games this season, to go along with his 37 home runs and 90 runs batted in. The month also saw an old-timer’s game played between the ’62 Dodgers and ’62 Giants, a 7-inning contest won by LA 10-5 in front of a nostalgic crowd at Dodger Stadium.

To see the Dodgers stat page for July, click here. And remember, the boxes for league leaders, team rankings, and award totals have been purposely left blank; these figures will be added after all NL team statistics have been finalized, and July award winners have been picked.



10 responses to “Dodgers End July With Best Record In Majors

  1. What happened to Reggie Smith to put him out for 2 weeks while in the hunt for the triple crown? Also is he back in the game now? Funny how I remember most of the Dodger players back then but if you ask me today I can’t even name a single player!

    • Yes, Mr Smith is back in action, but the shoulder injury has definitely affected his batting: over the first two weeks of August he’s hitting only .257, with just three home runs and seven RBI. He was injured when he ran into the outfield wall at Wrigley Field on July 17th, while chasing a fly ball off the bat of Manny Trillo, which went for a double when Smith missed the ball and slammed hard into the ivy in right. And when you made that comment about not knowing any current LA players, I tried to think of ANY current ballplayers, and came up empty. I couldn’t even think of the names of any Diamondback players!

  2. I’m still hoping for the collapse of the Blue Crew, mostly just to help the World Series be different than the actual ’78 series was, but I noticed while looking at the anemic batting stats of Dodger catchers, that in May Steve Yeager happened to hit an IPHR. I’m not sure how I missed that before, but who were the five opponents who collided in order for that improbability to happen? Was the game played at the old Polo Grounds? Regardless, this is my vote to start Jerry Grote for the remainder of the year (since Tom Haller, Johnny Roseboro and Roy Campanella don’t seem to be available).

    • Of the ten inside-the-park HRs hit through July in the SP78 season, three have been hit by catchers: Yeager, Milt May, and Rick Dempsey! I have no idea which planets aligned to make that happen, but those weren’t the only anomalies…how Jose Morales and Willie Montanez suddenly became so fleet-footed is beyond me. About the only IPHR that made sense was the one hit by Willie Randolph of the Yankees.

      And I’ve already noticed the lack of offense from the three LA catchers, so not that long ago, when Yeager came off the DL, I sent Ferguson and Grote to AAA, and called up Johnny Oates to the parent club to serve as Yeager’s backup. And if Oates shows better numbers than Yeager from the get-go, he’ll become the Dodgers’ #1 backstop.

  3. Jerry Grote, now there is a guy I remember on the baseball card from 1969. The Mets of course, didn’t know he was on the LA Smog in his later years.

    • And here are three things we didn’t know about Jerry Grote: 1) He started his career with the Houston Colt .45s, 2) He played a half season with the Royals in 1981, and 3) after playing with the Dodgers in 1978, he retired from baseball, only to un-retire and return to the major leagues two seasons later.

  4. Backstop? I thought it was “shortstop”?! And is AAA anything like AA? Just curious. Trying to follow along (hopelessly)!

    • ‘Backstop’ is another term for catcher (as in, to stop pitched balls from going anywhere beyond home plate), and AAA is the highest level of minor league baseball, followed by AA and A. And don’t worry, your situation is not hopeless!

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