It has been well documented that the Dodgers wildly underachieved in the 2022 postseason. After setting a franchise record with 111 wins and capturing the NL West title by 22 games over the second-place Padres, who the Dodgers were 14-5 against in the regular season, San Diego defeated LA in the 2022 NLDS.
The early exit in the NLDS was a shock to the Dodgers, especially considering how easily they discarded the Padres throughout the regular season. But it's been a year since that disappointing performance, and the playoffs are now around the corner once again.
The 2023 season has been a much different story, too. The Braves enter the postseason as the heavy favorites to roll through the NL and win another World Series. But, as Dodgers fans know from last year (and many other years in recent memory), the team with the best record in the regular season isn't typically the team that goes on to win the World Series.
The Dodgers were supposed to have a "down year" in 2023 but have wildly exceeded expectations ... even though winning the NL West is something they've gotten used to. Success for Los Angeles is measured almost entirely by postseason performance, and the Dodgers have to focus on a few key areas to avoid another early exit in 2023.
Dodgers 2023 Playoffs: 3 keys to make a deep run
Better Situational Hitting
In 2022, perhaps the biggest reason for the Dodgers' downfall was poor situational hitting. LA scored a healthy five runs in Game 1 of the NLDS, but failed to tally more than three in any of the three consecutive losses that ended the series. It wasn't a lack of baserunners that forced the early exit, either.
In Game 2, the Dodgers had 11 hits, but only three solo home runs resulted in those baserunners crossing home plate. In Game 3, the Dodgers went 0-for-9 as a team with runners in scoring position, and the only run scored via a Mookie Betts sacrifice fly. In the series clincher, Game 4, the Dodgers scored three runs, but could have easily scored more if not for a 2-for-9 team-wide performance with RISP.
In the 2023 postseason, the Dodgers must be better in these scenarios. As a team, the Dodgers are hitting .276 with an .821 OPS with RISP. However, in 2022, the Dodgers hit .272 with an .824 OPS with RISP. Given the breakdown in the 2022 postseason, performance with RISP doesn't necessarily translate from the large sample size of the regular season to the small sample size of a postseason series. Regardless, the Dodgers can't go cold in this department in the NLDS.