Another Los Angeles Dodgers season has come to an end, and fans of the team are once again grappling with a way too early exit.
While many lamented about the lack of pitching depth, in the end, it was once again the offense that failed to show up. The top offense in baseball, they of the +334 run differential, could barely string together any hits. They blew a multitude of chances, stranding runners left an right. There seemed to be a complete lack of urgency and fire throughout the whole NLDS series.
Maybe it was because unlike last season, the team had the division wrapped up by the end of July. There was absolutely nothing to fight for down the stretch, and a six game series at the end of the season wore them into complacency.
Then there was a five day layoff before the playoffs actually happened. Once again, the Dodgers had no real competition. Whatever the fire was to win the World Series fizzled out in the waning weeks before the playoffs.
That is probably partially it. The Atlanta Braves, the team everyone touted as being the hottest team in baseball down the stretch, fell flat on their face against a red hot Philadelphia Phillies team and were also resoundingly bounced from the playoffs.
The Dodgers had to fight tooth and nail last season to advance in the playoffs, and failed to advance because of a combination of injury and exhaustion. Clearly what they need is to be somewhere in the middle.
But the playoffs don’t cater to the best team like that. The ‘best’ team should be able to navigate whatever the playoffs throw at them.
Once again, many fans are calling for a change at the top. Manager Dave Roberts has won the division all but one year he’s been at the helm, with last season losing it only to a fluky good San Francisco Giants team who won one more game than the 106-win Dodgers. The team has always had one of the best record in MLB. But still, there is only one World Series ring to show for it.
I personally am torn on this. There are not many managers that are going to deal with the amount of input the front office has in the day-to-day roster construction, and also navigate the huge superstar names that are in the Dodgers clubhouse.
But, someone needs to get the team ready to go in the playoffs and that indeed does start at the top. Would a shake up at manager help this team?
There was a complete lack of urgency in this team at the end this year and I don’t know if anyone knows why. Maybe they thought they’d just skate on their talent. Maybe they thought it would all just click.
I’ve often thought this team was too vanilla. The clubhouse is put together with good people in addition to good players. And the team does genuinely seem to all get along. But there is not that spark plug.
That player that fires up the team and the crowd. Sure, the manager should help with that, but that also should be on the players themselves. Regardless of the management, the players themselves have to want that win bad enough to make it happen. Or in the very least, show that they want it. That, to me, should be something the front office should address in the off-season.
And so we head into another winter of discontent. The team make up will be different again next season and the Dodgers will try again to get that elusive World Series ring. The regular season definitely was one for the history books and should be remembered as such. But this end of this season and what might have been will linger for a long time.
We here at ThinkBlue PC thank you for your continued readership and thoughtful and lively discussions about the team. We will be taking a bit of a hiatus from writing for the time being. Wishing everyone good health and fortune in the meantime and Go Dodgers!