This one really hurts. All of the classic postseason Dodgers narratives played out. Clayton Kershaw blew a lead, the bullpen crumbled under Roberts’ watch.
And ultimately, the most continuous narrative of all, the Dodgers failed to win a World Series once again, despite the best record in the National League and the consensus best record in the NL. For the first time since a 2015 loss to the New York Mets, the Dodgers lost at home in Game Five of the NLDS.
This one really hurts. This was supposed to be the year. Whatever happened to third time’s the charm? The 106-win, franchise record-setting regular season now means absolutely nothing. Part of the reason for the failure is that this team more than any other over the last two seasons was built for the regular season. Deep teams with little established outstanding star power can win in the playoffs when depth and strong rookies, which is exactly what the Dodgers did when they capitalized on the hot streaks of Cody Bellinger, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Will Smith, and Corey Seager to win the NL West for the seventh-straight season.
The blame falls on most of the lineup and on a fair number of pitchers, and potentially on Dave Roberts. Mostly though, the blame falls on the stars. This is made even more clear when you juxtapose how the stars from D.C. performed in comparison to L.A.’s own.
Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto combined to provide almost all of the offense, not just in Game Five, but throughout the entirety of the NLDS. The Dodgers’ MVP-hopeful did not record a home run. In fact, Bellinger has not hit a home run in any of his last 10 postseason games, but more on him later.
Over the rest of this article, I’ll break down the three major disappointing players, focusing on Seager, Bellinger, and Kershaw due to their star power, while leaving A.J. Pollock and Smith for a day when I have more control over my emotional state.