Dodgers’ pitcher Clayton Kershaw; Picture through Arturo Pardavila III
The Los Angeles Dodgers entered the 2022 MLB Postseason with 111 wins underneath their belt and World Championship favoritism behind them. 4 video games later, the Dodgers are watching the NLCS from residence. However how was it attainable for a juggernaut like this Los Angeles squad to be dispatched so rapidly? How was it attainable for what regarded just like the league’s finest workforce to be despatched packing?
The Dodgers of the common season had been a power to be reckoned with on the dish, batting .257 as a workforce, which was good for second within the Nationwide League. They blasted 212 residence runs, rating third within the NL. Los Angeles scored 847 runs, essentially the most in all of baseball by 40 runs, and in addition led the league in doubles, walks, on-base proportion, and OPS. Strikeouts had been comparatively benign for the common season Dodgers, as they Ok’ed the eighth most within the Nationwide League. They had been equally dominant on the mound in the course of the common season, posting a 2.80 ERA, tops within the Nationwide League. Dodgers hurlers struck out the fourth-most batters whereas additionally posting a powerful 1.05 WHIP and .209 batting common in opposition to. Additionally they issued the fewest walks within the NL. Dodgers fielders didn’t hold tempo with their offense and pitchers, however they did submit a .986 fielding proportion, which was barely above common for the league. Additionally they did a positive job controlling opposing working video games, permitting stolen base success at 78.2%.
Sadly for Dodgers followers, common season success adopted by postseason heartbreak has turn out to be a well-known story. The Dodgers have reached the postseason yearly over the previous 10 seasons. They’ve one ring to point out for it. One ring in a 60-game, COVID-shortened season. When requested in regards to the asterisk subsequent to his 2020 World Championship, Dodgers supervisor Dave Roberts mentioned, “Yeah, there’s definitely followers which might be going to suppose it was a wasted season. I don’t suppose there’s anyone in our clubhouse, in uniform or with the Dodgers, that feels that means.”
Whereas the Dodgers’ singular twenty first Century triumph needs to be taken significantly, the epic collapses of the franchise should even be mentioned. Within the final ten years, Dodgers followers have watched as their membership was despatched to the offseason by the St. Louis Cardinals twice, the New York Mets, the Chicago Cubs, the Houston Astros, the Boston Pink Sox, the Washington Nationals, and the Atlanta Braves.
However 2022 was purported to be totally different. The Dodgers added MVP first baseman Freddie Freeman to an already loaded lineup with Mookie Betts and Trea Turner. The Dodgers entered play with baseball’s fourth-highest payroll at $124,600,000. Confidence in Los Angeles was so excessive that in March, Dave Roberts referred to as his shot, telling Dan Patrick, “We’re profitable the World Collection this yr, put in on file.”
Even when the 2022 Dodgers had been at all times meant to satisfy their playoff demise, the grim reaper was by no means purported to be the San Diego Padres. Within the common season, the Dodgers dealt with their enterprise in opposition to their rivals from down south, defeating the Padres in all six sequence. But the Dodgers now discover themselves prepared to commerce all six for the one they misplaced when it mattered. In 4 video games in opposition to the Padres, the Dodgers had been decidedly just like their opponents, hitting .227 to the Padres’ .239. Each offenses blasted 4 residence runs. Each stole two bases. The Dodgers reached base at a .302 clip, whereas the Padres posted a .299 on-base proportion. The Padres had 32 hits to the Dodgers’ 30. The Dodgers walked 14 occasions whereas issuing 12 free passes to the Padres. San Diego batters fanned 45 occasions to LA’s 44 Ks. Every workforce made one error within the discipline. So how did the Padres rating three extra runs than the Dodgers all through the sequence? Well timed hitting.
Of their three postseason losses, the Dodgers went 2 for 26 with runners in scoring place. “It ended up costing us. There was a chance to tack on, and we could not try this, and also you noticed their guys sort of having the ability to get hits with guys in scoring place to sort of scratch and claw again into the sport and tack on. We simply could not try this,” mentioned Roberts. Mookie Betts added, “They got here by means of. We had our probabilities, we simply by no means acquired that hit.”
One other concern that have to be addressed by Dodgers brass is the breakdown of communication late in Sport 4. Whereas deadlocked at 3-3 within the seventh Inning with Juan Soto and Ha-Seong Kim aboard, the Dodgers had left-hander Alex Vesia warming within the bullpen to alleviate Yency Almonte and face lefty Jake Cronenworth. Roberts, wanting to offer Vesia a couple of extra pitches within the bullpen, referred to as on Almonte to make a pickoff try at Soto on first base. As a substitute of choosing off and giving Vesia a clear depend in opposition to Cronenworth, Almonte went residence and pitched ball one. Vesia entered with a 1-0 depend and surrendered a 2-2 double to Cronenworth that plated two runs and received the sport for San Diego. “In some way the signal didn’t get there. I don’t know if I messed it up. I don’t know if the bench messed it up. Who is aware of? However that’s not why we misplaced the sport,” mentioned catcher Will Smith. Smith might be proper that this alternate didn’t trigger Vesia to give up the double to Cronenworth. Nonetheless, it speaks to a big concern that the Dodgers lacked consideration to element in an enormous second.
However maybe nobody summed up the woes of the Dodgers higher than Freddie Freeman, “I’m certain there was a three-game span in the course of the course of the common season after we didn’t accomplish that nicely, both. It’s simply unlucky that it occurred in October, and, sadly, that is what occurs when that occurs.” Freeman is appropriate that on this case, timing was every thing. The Dodgers’ bats went chilly on the worst attainable time. However that’s the fact of baseball in October and a actuality that has turn out to be all too acquainted for Dodgers followers.