The Dodgers had a shiny new manager in 2008, bringing in the Old Wise Man of east coast ball and fitting him out with a surfboard, convertible, and a pair of Bermudas. It worked. They won the West by two games with an 84-78 record. With 700 RS (13th) and 648 RA (1st), they underperformed their Pythagorean percentage by three games. You can bet the brainiacs at 24 Willie Mays Plaza got excited about a crap offense winning the division! Boy howdy, that's how to build a club! That's not to understate the importance of good pitching. The Central-winning 97-64 Cubs led the NL with a 119 ERA+, followed by the 82-80 D-backs (116), 92-70 World Champ Phils (113), and the West-winning LAtriners (113). The second-place Snakes (720/706, 10th/5th) came back down to earth after their wild-&-flukey 2007, matching their 82-80 projection exactly. Third-place Colorado (747/822, 8th/14th, 98 ERA+) finished ten games out at 74-88, also Even-Steven with Pythagoras. I remember predicting that the G-men would lose 100. Cy Young was on the team, though, and he rescued us from some of our well-deserved obloquy by going 18-5! The Bhoyos by the Bay scored 640 (15th) and allowed 759 (9th)--let's hear it for Bonehead, he beat the Greek by four games and finished 72-90 and fourth place. The Padres fell off a cliff (63-99) after four straight winning seasons, losing the Ty-D-Bol Cup to the hapless Nationals (59-102). A RS/RA line of 637/764 (16th/10th) will do that for you, and owing the Pythagoreans five games can't help either. A bad team AND bad luck--the gods are cruel. Here's the thing: the Giants had a 101 ERA+, and the Padres an 86 ERA+. The Pads allowed 100 more runs on the road (432) than at home (332), the Giants only 43 (401-358). You have to take your good pitching with you when you travel, eh?
p.s. The Park drew fewer than 3 million (2,863,837) fans for the 1st time since opening, and attendance wasn't any better in 2009 (2,862,110) despite the winning record. Still, that's in the top third for all of baseball.