Dodgers fans whining about MLB playoff structure have lost the plot

Thomas Carannante
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 12: Los Angeles Dodgers fans cheer during game two of the National League Division Series against the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium on October 12, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 12: Los Angeles Dodgers fans cheer during game two of the National League Division Series against the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium on October 12, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /
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Most Los Angeles Dodgers fans are in agreement: this team choked in 2022 and has a reputation of falling short in the postseason. It’s nothing new. It’s a narrative that envelopes this franchise in the worst kind of way.

Historically, even, the Dodgers are unspectacular with just seven World Series titles since the organization’s inception in 1884. But nothing’s been more glaring than the performance of the last decade.

The Dodgers have made the postseason 10 straight years. The last time they did that? Never. Their next best streak is two years. They won their division nine times out of those last 10 years. They captured nine division titles from 1974-2012. They’ve notched four 100-win seasons since 2016. Before 2016, they did that SIX times from 1884-2015.

This has, by far, been the best decade of Dodgers baseball ever. But they have very little to show for it. They won the World Series in the shortened 2020, which, while legitimate, still leaves a lot to be desired among the fanbase. Everyone wants a full-season triumph, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

But sometimes, you just have to take it on the chin. It stinks. Other franchises have it much worse. Look at the Boston Red Sox, who, while capturing multiple World Series since 2004, have become a laughingstock because their ownership is a bunch of cheapskates. Look at the New York Yankees! They have one World Series victory since 2001. One! Some teams don’t even have a World Series! Sports objectively suck.

But Dodgers fans out there now whining about the new MLB playoff structure really need to look in the mirror. LA faced an 89-win Padres team that they beat 14 out of 19 tries this year. For as much as everybody dislikes Rob Manfred, this isn’t on him. This is on the Dodgers for once again not digging deep and delivering despite a historic season and roster. Same old story since 2013. The playoff structure could be a cakewalk or utterly impossible. The Dodgers would find a way to lose in either scenario.

Dodgers fans whining about MLB playoff structure are missing the point

What exactly disadvantaged the Dodgers here? Not playing a game for six days? Didn’t that actually help them rest up a number of injured players, like Chris Taylor and Blake Treinen?

They had home-field advantage against a team they won 22 games over in the NL West. They had Julio Urías starting in Game 1 vs Mike Clevinger.

The Padres have been without Fernando Tatis Jr. all year. They finished with the 14th best reliever ERA. They were in the bottom half of MLB teams for offensive production in the seventh inning or later.

No Tatis, no problem. 14th-best bullpen? Lights out against the Dodgers. Stagnant production in crunch time? Six runs in the seventh inning or later to seal the deal on Games 2 and 4.

Did Dodgers fans want a re-seed? What would’ve happened if they ran into the red-hot Phillies? Do you really think that would’ve gone any differently? Philadelphia displaced the defending World Series champs, who were better than they were last year, in four games. The worst of the worst LA fans would’ve somehow complained about cross-country travel if they lost that one, too.

Most Dodgers fans might be quick to the trigger to respond to this in defense mode. But there’s no need. It’s obvious most dialed-in fans understand the scope of the conversation here: this is on the Dodgers’ inability to perform in high-pressure situations and Dave Roberts’ decision making. Nothing else.

The best team in MLB, like the Dodgers this year, should theoretically run through any October opponent because there’s inherently a mismatch. Re-seeding doesn’t change that.

Wait … actually it does. It makes the Dodgers susceptible to more embarrassment should they lose to a worse team.

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