For the second consecutive season, the Dodgers saw their World Series hopes end with another team celebrating on their home field.
The Dodgers once again lost their final World Series game by a score of 5-1. Although both World Series ended by the same score, the series were entirely different. Last year the Dodgers were the best team in baseball, blew several games in the World Series and ultimately fell short to the Houston Astros.
The 2018 World Series was a far different story. The Red Sox had the best record in baseball, cruised to the World Series and dispatched two 100 win teams. The Dodgers on the other hand went seven games in the NLCS and never truly felt like a dominant team this season. The Red Sox were the better team and it showed.
The two main reasons that the Dodgers lost the World Series again was due to their bullpen and lack of clutch hitting. In the NLCS and NLDS, the Dodgers bullpen was lights out and helped protect late leads against the Braves and Brewers. In the World Series, the Dodger bullpen put together an ERA of 5.57 and notably blew a 4-0 lead in game four that would have even the series up at 2-2.
Even Kenley Jansen was not himself and allowed two big runs in only four innings of work in the World Series. Jansen had his velocity but his location failed him and against a lineup like the Red Sox, they will make you pay. Jansen will need to bounce back next postseason after two straight rough World Series.
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The other factor that led to the demise of the 2018 Dodgers was poor situational and clutch hitting. The Dodgers hit just .200 in the World Series when they had runners in scoring position. The Red Sox on the other hand hit .353 with RISP. The Dodgers scored just eight runs when they had runners in scoring position while the Red Sox scored 19 runs.
The Red Sox clutch hitting was the biggest difference in the World Series. Especially with runners in scoring position and two outs, the Red Sox hit a ridiculous .471 and scored fifteen runs. The Dodgers on the other hand, hit just .231 in the same scenario.
Just three Dodger hitters hit above .250 in the World Series and they were David Freese, Justin Turner, and Max Muncy. Manny Machado received a lot of attention this series for his prior rivalry with the Red Sox but he went homerless in the World Series and hit just .222.
While Clayton Kershaw allowed four runs last night, it’s worth mentioning the Dodgers could only muster up one run to support him. Kershaw gets plenty of postseason narratives written about him but one common theme for Kershaw in the postseason, is poor run support. The Dodger offense certainly didn’t do him any favors.
Whenever the Dodgers return to the World Series, they will need to perform much better in clutch situations to end their championship drought. There will be plenty of changes made to the roster this winter, and one thing the front office would be wise to do, is focus on players who hit well in clutch situations.