THE LAST GREAT MOMENT FOR THE DODGERS IN 2018: Waiting to greet Max Muncy after his game-winning home run in the 18TH INNING of their 3-2 World Series Game 2 win. Photo courtesy of sporting news.com
SAYING GOODBYE TO THE DODGERS FOR 2018 AFTER THEIR SECOND CONSECUTIVE FAILURE IN THE WORLD SERIES
LOS ANGELES DODGERS – 2018 SEASON
Final Overall Record: 100-79 (92-71 regular season, 8-8 post season)
- NATIONAL LEAGUE CHAMPIONS for the second straight year
- NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST DIVISION CHAMPIONS for the sixth straight year
- Beat the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS, three games to one
- Beat the Milwaukee Brewers in the NLCS, four games to three
- Lost to the Boston Red Sox in the World Series – their second straight defeat in the Fall Classic – four games to one
Top Hitters (regular season):
- Justin Turner, 3B – .312 average, 14 HR, 52 RBI
- Matt Kemp, LF – .290 average, 21 HR, 85 RBI
- Manny Machado, SS – .273 average, 13 HR, 42 RBI
- Yasiel Puig, RF – .267 average, 23 HR, 63 RBI
- Max Muncy, 1B/3B – .263 average, 35 HR, 79 RBI
- Cody Bellinger, OF/1B – .260 average, 25 HR, 76 RBI
Top Pitchers (regular season):
- Clayton Kershaw: 9-5, 2.73 ERA, 155 strikeouts
- Walker Buehler: 8-5, 2.62 ERA, 151 strikeouts
- Rich Hill: 11-5, 3.66 ERA, 150 strikeouts
- Hyun-Jin Ryu: 7-3, 1.97 ERA
- Kenley Jansen (closer): 1-5, 3.01 ERA 82 strikeouts, 38 saves out of 42 save opportunities
Postseason & World Series Stats:
- David Freese, 3B – .364 average, 2 HR, 6 RBI postseason / 417 average (5 for 12), 1 HR in World Series *TOP PERFORMER
- Justin Turner – .299 average, 1 HR, 4 RBI postseason / .333 average in World Series
- Yasiel Puig – .300 average, 2 HR, 8 RBI postseason / .250 average, 1 HR, 4 RBI on World Series
- Max Muncy – .200 average, 3 HR, 6 RBI postseason / .235 average with game wining home run on game 3 of World Series
- Manny Machado – .227 average, 3 HR, 12 RBI postseason / .182 average with 3 RBI in World Series
- Cody Bellinger: .115 average, 1 HR, 4 RBI postseason / .063 average with six strikeouts in World Series (23 strikeouts in past two World Series – YUCK!)
- Enrique Hernandez, IF/OF – .122 average, 2 HR, 3 RBI postseason / .133 average, 1 HR, 2 RBI in World Series
- Joc Pederson, CF – .205 average, 2 HR, 2 RBI postseason / .083 with 1 HR in World Series
- Clayton Kershaw: 2-3, 4.20 ERA, 26 strikeouts postseason / 0-2, 7.36 ERA, 3 HR given up in World Series
- Walker Buehler: 0-1, 3.80 ERA, 29 strikeouts postseason / 7 innings of shutout ball in game 3 of World Series
- Rich Hill: 2.16 ERA postseason, 1.42 ERA World Series
- Kenley Jansen: 1.69 ERA, 3 out of 5 saves postseason / 4.50 ERA with two HR given up in World Series
Justin Turner (left), Manny Machado (#8), and Brian Dozier (#6) with the post game high fives. Photo courtesy of truebluela.com
ALL RIGHT, ENOUGH WITH THE STATS AND NUMBERS; HERE ARE MY THOUGHTS AND ANALYSIS:
It was just like last year at around this time.
Only a little worse, as at least the Houston Astros had to wait until the end of Game 7 to do their celebrating and World Series trophy accepting on the Dodger Stadium turf.
The Red Sox were able to do it after Game 5.
It was clearly a case of my head winning over my heart as far as how I saw this World Series playing out; the impartial, objective, realistic, and brutally honest part of me had the Red Sox beating the Dodgers in six games.
I knew, when I did my research before writing the World Series preview on this blog, that those Dodgers did not match up with the team playing in the oldest and arguably (especially if you talk to Chicago Cubs fans) the most iconic stadium in the majors, and I was more than proven right.
Simply and bluntly put, the Boston Red Sox was the better baseball club.
How else can you describe a team that set the franchise record for most wins in a season?
And considering the Red Sox’s storied history – Ted Williams was an absolute genius at hitting a baseball, and I consider him one of my favorite players and a role model – that is definitely saying something.
Two particular things I noticed at the end of Game 5 while I watching it on TV (with the mute on roughly half of the time as like so many others, I’m rather tired of Joe Buck)…
1. Manny Machado making the last out of the World Series and the 2018 baseball season, igniting the Red Sox celebration, was seen as karma and poetic justice considering the animosity that the Sox had for Machado during his days with the Baltimore Orioles, particularly after he put beloved second baseman Dustin Pedroia out of action for over a year with a questionable slide; the Ted Sox fans regarded him as they do any New York Yankee, judging by how they booed him at Fenway Park.
Considering all of that, plus various other issues, I do not expect him to be wearing a Dodger uniform next year.
2. I noticed quite a bit of red in the stands at Dodger Stadium, as the Red Sox fans more or less took over Chavez Ravine for Game 5 in particular; it almost looked like Fenway Park behind the first base dugout during the trophy presentations and interviews.
I’m surprised that they didn’t sing Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline”, a staple at Fenway during the 8th inning of Red Sox games.
One other thing that’s prominent in my mind regarding this 114th World Series:
Those Dodgers DID NOT lose that series in Game 5.
They lost that series in Game 4 the night before; giving up nine runs in the last three innings, including five in the ninth, after having a 4-0 lead after six innings, would do that.
I knew deep down that the Dodgers were through that Saturday night and they wouldn’t be able to recover from that epic collapse – I don’t care how professional a sports team is, it is difficult on a PRONOUNCED scale for ANY team, after blowing such a solid lead, to overcome that type of adversity
THE ONLY WORLD SERIES HIGHLIGHT VIDEO WORTH WATCHING TO DODGER FANS: Game 3, the longest in World Series history by both innings AND time. Courtesy of YouTube (click on the link)
OK, what about next year for this blue-clad flagship SoCal sports franchise?
First, unlike seemingly almost every other Dodger fan,
Despite manager Dave Roberts’ screw-ups with his in-game choices both in pitching and in the lineup as he relied WAY TOO MUCH on analytics,
I am NOT calling for his head, nor do I expect president Andrew Friedman and general manager Farhan Zaidi to fire him.
At least for now, anyway.
Any manager who has won three division titles and two National League pennants in this first three seasons, by conventional thinking, will get a pass.
Putting it another way, I won’t be surprised if Roberts, whose contract is up for an option, is given an extension.
Then again, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Dodger brass, feeling that Roberts has taken the team as far as he can, decided to go in another direction.
The same is true of Kershaw’s future as he can opt out of his two-years remaining contract and become a free agent.
If he stays, great! Though after ten years as a Dodger, I see him as being past his peak.
If he decides to move on, I’ll say thanks for ten great years and do the same.
Those two issues will undoubtedly be the biggest regarding the Dodgers during these next three and a half months, until they reconvene at Camelback Ranch in Mid-February.
The only thing I hope and pray for is that this now-thirty year drought since their last title in 1988 doesn’t approach Chicago Cub-like lengths.
BY FAR THE DODGERS’ #1 MOMENT IN THE WORLD SERIES: Max Muncy’ home run in the bottom of the 18th inning to get L.A. their only Series win. Photo courtesy of npr.org