Lessons Learned from the Past Two World Series Losses

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Today is the first day that all Dodgers players are to report to camp. All players have reported, with the exception of Andrew Toles. The team told reporters this morning that he was dealing with a personal issue, has been in contact with the team, and has the team’s full support. We’re hoping whatever it is, Tolesy will be back with the team soon, and that everything is all right.

Andy McCullough from The Los Angeles Times put out an excellent article this morning that focused on Justin Turner and how he has dealt with the last two off-seasons, particularly with the back to back World Series losses. JT talks a lot about last season, and that the team definitely suffered a hangover from the 2017 season.

One of the most interesting tidbits to me is how Turner talks about all the platooning the Dodgers did last year.

“There was all this noise about the platoons,” Turner said. “We won the division. We went to the World Series. You can’t say that it didn’t work. Because we lost in the World Series, people were saying ‘Oh, it’s because you platooned.’ What? How did we get there?That was our identity last year. That’s not an organizational philosophy. It’s just what we had to do to adapt to survive.”

We all know how last year was the antithesis of 2017, even if the outcome of the season was the same. The Dodgers stumbled out of gates, fell flat on their faces, dealt with way too many injuries to too many important players, and had to take the season to 163 games just to win the division.

I’m going to propose something radical, so stay with me here—what if the last two seasons are what the Dodgers need to finally win the World Series?

Andy, you’re nuts, you say. Why on earth would that be true? Well, let’s talk about it. Much has been made, rightly or wrongly so, about what the front office has or hasn’t done to make this team a world championship caliber team. The last two years would point to the fact that they’ve done their job. They put a team on the field that made it to back-to-back World Series.

Much also has been made about manager Dave Roberts, and if he is a good enough manager to lead a team to a world championship. What Roberts has had to deal with in his three previous seasons in Los Angeles would be tough for any manager. Big city, big scrutiny of a historic team with some of this generation’s best players. An incredible losing skid in 2017 where everyone doubted the team. And then last season, keeping all those egos and personalities working and playing together as a unit, when the whole year was a complete slog, and not many players saw their typical day to day roles of years past.

So, basically, the front office and the manger did their jobs. (Save your pitching decision comments for another day). Who didn’t produce when the time came? The players. In 2017, the Dodgers made every game close, and fought and fought, until Game 7, when they didn’t. In 2018, maybe it was too much to deal with during the season, but the lack of hitting with runners in scoring position was still there, and even though the Boston Red Sox were a buzzsaw, as Turner put it, there really wasn’t too much fight in the World Series either.

Having endured all of that, the players now know exactly what it takes to win a World Series. Some circumstances were out of their control, but they’ve experienced two different teams celebrating World Series wins on their home field. They know what an offseason is like after having gone that deep into the playoffs. The pain now only runs hotter and deeper, and it’s time for the players themselves to step up and get it done.

“Do we believe we’re a good team? Absolutely. Every guy in here, to a man, thinks we’re a really, really good team, and have a chance to do something special. At the same time, that doesn’t count for a run. You don’t score runs because you’re supposed to be good. You still have to figure out ways to score runs and throw strikes and play defense. That’s what we have to do.”

Maybe the third time is a charm.

 

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27 thoughts on “Lessons Learned from the Past Two World Series Losses

  1. I’m afraid this is a bigger deal with Toles than just a personal matter. I hope I’m wrong and we see him soon because he has all the talent in the world to just go to waste. Saying a prayer that he gets it straightened out.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice article Alex. Listening to the players and how hard a lot of them worked in the offseason they seem motivated and fired up to make another run at a championship. Just hope we can stay healthy

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  3. “Do we believe we’re a good team? Absolutely. Every guy in here, to a man, thinks we’re a really, really good team, and have a chance to do something special.”

    Suggesting two things….. he doesn’t think they are elite, and something special is still out there to do.

    Pollock and Turner both with under 450 at bats. The Dodgers can win the West without pushing these two.

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  4. And they won’t be pushing starting pitching either. Nobody needs to be throwing 200 + innings. That’s the beauty of having such a deep team. Keep everyone fresh and injury free as possible for October

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    1. 13 pitchers threw 200 innings last year. All but one, Shields, had some very impressive stats. Elite? Yeah, I would say so. Kershaw? Not even Top 50 in anything. Neither was Buehler. Though his WHIP was outstanding, must not have had enough innings to be included among leaders. Both pretty good. Not elite.

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  5. We’ll see. I wouldn’t bet against Kersh in 19! And Buehler looked pretty elite to me by the end of last year. Arenado sure thought so!

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    1. I’d say he has the potential to be elite. But stats don’t lie. He’s way down the list in games started and innings pitched. There are still many pitchers in the league that take the ball 30+ times and throw 180+ innings. No Dodgers on that list of course. You know who is? Greinke and Hamels. Older guys that still bring it every year. There’s a few.

      $/WAR. Anyone know what it is for ‘19? Depends on the position. A fangraphs article from a year ago suggests it’s higher for relief pitchers, But it appears to be falling, and it varies by team. It really helps if a team makes the playoffs. And of course, guys like Muncy skew the results. The $9 million figure fangraphs came up with is only for free agents. I wonder what will happen to the overall figures when Harper and Machado finally sign. 7 WAR for $60 million? Sounds about right. Though I believe Harper will put up more than 1.3 next year, no matter where he goes.

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  6. A reporter with the Chicago Tribune is saying that the Joc to White Sox deal is still being discussed. He did not mention any names. But I am pretty sure the talk is about Abreu. We will see if Ol Andy pulls the trigger on anything with Toles out of the picture for now.

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      1. I don’t know that’s true. Abreu has years of negative dWAR to analyze, and he’s 32. Muncy is 28 and only has 107 games at first. Most of his 20 errors over 3 seasons came at third. His fldg % at first is barely below league average I won’t be as quick to judge him over there. Give him the job early and let him work on it.

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    1. All the pundits seem happy that it was SD that signed him. All are saying it’s good for baseball. Let’s see if they get the Manny they’re hoping for or the Manny we had for half a season. Harper, Keuchel and Kimbrel should all be signed shortly. Maybe Friedman will astonish everyone and give Kimbrel a very high one year contract.

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  7. Their pitching is still very weak. They need a couple of front end starters to even begin to challenge us. Tho I’d rather he signed with White Sox

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  8. They are supposedly still in on Harper. If they sign him, they can package their two best outfielders and a prospect or two (their system is loaded) and convince the Indians to send them Kluber. Even if they don’t get Kluber (just my idea, I haven’t seen it mentioned anywhere), they have some great young pitching in their system. Not ready yet but in a year or two they’ll be a force.

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