Regular Season Success Doesn’t Mean Postseason Success, but Past Playoff Failures Might

(Harry How/Getty Images)

And just like that, here we are. The Los Angeles Dodgers are once again Champions of the NL West, and poised for another World Series run. And once again, Dodger fans know that what happened in the regular season doesn’t mean much if they still don’t get that elusive ring.

The Dodgers finished the regular season with a 43-17 record, which extrapolates to a 116 win season. They won the most games in the majors by three games and only lost one series the entire season. Their run differential is plus 136, which is 52 more than the next closest teams. They lead the NL in runs scored, home runs, and runs allowed. They also lead the majors in team ERA, wins, WHIP and batting average against, while also allowing the least amount of walks and earned runs against them.

But Dodgers fans are used to their team leading in multiple categories and still not winning the World Series (except for 2017, which we all know they should have won for reasons other than bullpen mis-management).

The playoffs is where it all resets. What happened in the regular season no longer matters aside from where it places you in the playoff hierarchy.

Since the Dodgers did so well, they are the number one overall seed, and will face off against the Milwaukee Brewers in the Wild Card round. The Brew Crew slide into the playoffs with a 29-31 record, a less than .500 team in a year of expanded playoffs. But in this year, in this format, the playoffs become even more of a crap shoot.

All the Brewers need to do is steal the first game and then the Dodgers are back on their heels and the Dodgers playoff lives flash before all their fans eyes because been there, done that.

But somehow, I don’t think this is the year the Dodgers fall prey to those pitfalls. Because this team is that good, and have been there, done that. 2019’s failure is still fresh in the their mind. And 2017 is also fresh in their minds, thanks to all of the revelations about that playoff run and World Series over the winter.

This team is probably the best team the Dodgers have had during these last eight seasons. That 2017 was fantastic, and yet this team has a chance to be better. It’s not all up to Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen this year, and not should it be left up to them (looking at you, Dave Roberts).

This team is solid one through nine in the lineup, even if someone like Max Muncy continues to slump. Will Smith is hitting so well they’re going to carry three catchers so they can have Smith DH and Austin Barnes behind the plate. Chris Taylor has had such a great season he’s worked himself into a starting second baseman job. Mookie Betts speaks for himself, he and Justin Turner will be the calm leaders this team can depend on. And the bullpen is full of pitchers who can help ease the load of Jansen, and it won’t be just one other guy to have to help him like Brandon Morrow in 2017.

I had a good feeling about ‘17 until it was literally stolen from the Dodgers, and I have a good feeling about this year too. They are the best team in baseball, and they have all the experience and failure in the past to propel them to playing like it this season. No, the regular season doesn’t count now that the playoffs have started. The past playoffs do, and I believe the Dodgers will use all that to win the World Series this year.

 

 

10 thoughts on “Regular Season Success Doesn’t Mean Postseason Success, but Past Playoff Failures Might

  1. Playoffs are to the regular season as the regular season is to spring training.
    Players often have a great spring and then start the season 0-whatever. Players who couldn’t buy a hit during ST sometimes start the season hitting so well that the opposition can’t get them out.
    I’m not going into the Brewers series with any expectations whatsoever with regard to how well we’re going to hit and which guys will do the hitting. I do know that the Brewers should be very loose because nobody expects them to go on to the next round.

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  2. Let’s hope the way they have been playing the last 10 days of the season continues. I have a lot of confidence in this group, but anything can happen in the playoffs, and 3 game series are exceptionally difficult. Let’s hope they fare much better in this 3 game set than the last time they were in one. 1962, when they lost to the Giants. If you go back through Dodger history the only 3 gamer they won was 1959,

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  3. Wish i was as confident as you guys. I just don’t know how to compare dodgers to a bunch of teams we never saw or played against. We only played 8/10 games against teams that could win half their games. For some weird reason that’s also true of most of the other divisions. Thankfully we don’t have to play any American league teams. I am still concerned about our pitching staff. Gonsolin and Kershaw got bombed by a very, very bad team and I have no confidence in our bullpen. And of course our historic inability to hit in the post season.
    Man I’m in a funk, but I don’t see it.

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    1. The good news Gordon is that you’ll either be prepared for something bad or very pleasantly surprised.
      That’s more or less the way I live my life and everyone calls me a pessimist. 🙂

      I usually have a feeling going into the post season but I’m absolutely stumped this year. No outcome whatsoever would surprise me, from the Dodgers finally winning it to the Brewers or Marlins coming out on top. I’m just hoping to enjoy some good baseball and I’m prepared to let the baseball gods decide.

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      1. Yes Jeff. Im with you. No idea but my little brain says anything is possible this year. Just have a bad feeling about the dodgers this year. Don’t think we know enough about this team, except they have been playing really bad teams this year. On the other hand when I feel good about them they lose so maybe?

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      2. My problem, starting in 1989, is when I feel good about them they lose and when I feel bad about them they lose. This year I have no feeling about them. I think we’re in for a virtual parade. Get the champagne ready to pop.

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    2. Well Gordon, I think you are dead wrong about the pen. And as for playing teams that could not win half their games, look around the leagues. What came before does not matter anymore. It is a do over starting tomorrow. The first time the Dodgers played the Rockies this year, they were a winning team. They actually got out of the gate hot. As for the Giants, as bad as they were, they gave LA trouble in most of the games. They outplayed SD 6-4. It does not matter how bad the competition is, You still have to beat them. The beat Houston 3-4, Took 2 of 3 from the A’s. They were never shut out. And I for the life of me can never remember a 60 game stretch where that did not happen at least once if not more. They are healthy. The starters worry me more than the pen does. If you look at some of the losses, they were rarely blown out of any game. And a lot of times they got beat on some pretty weak hits. The thing is that no matter how good a team is, the best team does not always win. But in 18 the Sox were far and away the best. The Dodgers road will not be easy. But when it is all over, if they are on top of the mountain, they will have earned it. And I believe that guys like Betts, and Kershaw, Belli, Pollock, and Seager, have something to prove this year. I also think they will be playing with an urgency they never have before. Especially in this WC round where there is zero room for error.

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  4. Well the pen is a disaster waiting to happen. Surely you are not suggesting that the giants or rockies or even the padres are 500 teams in a real season. As it happens the astros were also not a 500 team. I guess my concerns are the guys you say have something to prove, plus muncy of course. We are going into the post season with no ace, unless Buehler gets it together, 3 questionable rookies and not much more. It’s enough to beat bad teams but I’m concerned about the few good teams they will have to play. You are right that ghe best team doesn’t always win. But consider that we are not 0 for 7 without some reasons. And I expect we’ve pretty much had this very same discussion for 7 years. Guess I’m just frustrated.

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    1. Well so far, the disaster has not happened. And since this is not a normal season, no one knows how the Giants, Padres or even the Astros would have fared in a full season. The Astros lost their ace, and still are in the playoffs. The Dodgers lost their # 3 starter when he opted out. As Oddball said in the great movie, Kelly’s Hero’s, Stop with da negative waves! Kershaw may not be an ace anymore, but he has been a lot better. And with the shortened season they are assured he will be fresh for however far they go. I think it is very premature calling Buehler the ace. He has shown a lot, and he has elite stuff. But he has shown this year some inconsistency with that stuff. Gonsolin has been a revalation. I have no problem with him as the # 3 right now. The Dodgers just need to play their game. They cannot worry about who the opponent is. They just need to take care of business. Relax and enjoy the games. No need to have a heart attack. There are other things in life a lot more important than winning a world series……although right now I cannot think of one.

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  5. I’ve said before you don’t win the world series without a stud pitcher and a good bullpen. Beuler has shown in the post season he can be that guy. But this year he has been pretty average. Mostly we need to hit and we’ve never been able to do that these past 7 years. They certainly won’t hit 2 or 3 homers each game. Especially after the first round. You’re right. Let’s enjoy it.

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