The final night of "Wednesday Night Baseball" this season features the Los Angeles Dodgers against the San Francisco Giants (10 p.m. ET, ESPN). Here are five stats our broadcast crew will be talking about today.
1. The Dodgers have clinched the NL West and are still in the hunt for the best record in the National League. With five games yet to play, the Braves have the best record in the NL and the Cardinals the second-best. The Dodgers are two games behind the Braves and 1.5 games behind the Cardinals (one in the loss column).
2. The Dodgers are the third team in MLB history to be in last place on July 1 or later and win the division, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. After falling a season-high 12 games below .500 at 30-42 through their first 72 games, the Dodgers have gone 61-24, playing at a 116-win pace (over 162 games) in their last 85 games. The 116 is notable because 116 is the MLB record for wins in a season, shared by the 1906 Cubs (in the 154-game schedule) and the 2001 Mariners (in the 162-game schedule).
Latest Day in Last Place to Win Division
3. The Dodgers have decisions to make regarding their postseason rotation. Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke are the obvious one-two punch, but Don Mattingly & Co. must pick between Ricky Nolasco and Hyun-Jin Ryu as a Game 3 starter. Nolasco has struggled in his last two starts, allowing 13 runs (11 ER) in 6 1/3 IP.
4. Tonight could be the final chapter of Barry Zito's career with the Giants. He has an $18 million club option for next season with a $7 million buyout. The Giants will likely buy him out, closing the book on his seven-year, $126 million contract, which at the time was the largest ever for a pitcher. It’s safe to say the contract did not pan out for San Francisco; over the life of the deal, he’s been worth a total of 3.0 WAR (wins above replacement), or less than 0.5 WAR per season.