The Los Angeles Dodgers entered their Saturday game against the Seattle Mariners with two ways to clinch the National League West. One way was a win and one San Francisco Giants loss (the Giants were playing a doubleheader against the Colorado Rockies). A second route had the Giants losing both games of the doubleheader, and the Arizona Diamondbacks losing to the Chicago Cubs. The Giants did lose Game One of their doubleheader, meaning that all the Dodgers needed was a win. This was followed by the Giants losing the second game as well, while Arizona's game was back and forth and needed extra innings.
As for the Dodgers themselves, they ended up going to extras with no runs scored, and the 10th inning saw each team put up a run. Dodger fans looking to count on the Cubs ended up disappointed, as during the 10th inning of the Dodgers game, the Diamondbacks walked off in the 13th, so LA had to do it themselves. The 11th saw the Dodgers score five runs, and that sealed it. The Dodgers won, 6-2, locking up the National League West and joining the Atlanta Braves as the only teams to lock in postseason berths.
The Dodgers won their 21st division title since divisional play began in 1969, and this NL West crown is their tenth in the last 11 seasons. However, I want to talk about the team's current manager, Dave Roberts. Roberts was hired as the Dodgers skipper during the 2015 offseason, and at that time, the Dodgers had been winning their share of division titles, but nothing really came of that. Since Roberts took over, the stock has increased, but in spite of this, the current regime could be seen as an absolute failure. 2016 was Roberts' first season as manager, and that year saw them reach the NLCS, only to lose to the Chicago Cubs--who hadn't won a pennant since the year World War II ended.
2017 and 2018 saw the Dodgers reach the World Series, though we know how that first one ended. The Dodgers "lost" to the Houston Astros in 2017, and 2018 saw them blasted by the Boston Red Sox. By this point, the doubts started to creep in regarding the Dodgers' ability to do anything in October, and they increased vastly in 2019, when they won 106 games, yet were ousted in the NLDS by--of all teams--the Washington Nationals. 2020 was the dream year, the Dodgers winning the whole thing, while their attempt to repeat in 2021 was thwarted by the Atlanta Braves in the NLCS. And then there's 2022. 111 wins, breaking the franchise record they set in 2019 and tied in 2021, yet all that it got them was one postseason game won.
This is Roberts' eighth year as manager. The Dodgers had another good season, but they know what they have to do. This is World Series or bust. Yes, they won in 2020, but unfortunately, many members of the court of public opinion are putting asterisks on that championship because the 2020 season was shortened due to the COVID-19 pandemic being at such a high height during that time. Now, I refuse to dismiss that championship, because it is a championship, and the Dodgers won it. Sadly, the doubters are not as lenient, and the leniency has decreased after two seasons of failing to get there, with 2022 being a huge detriment.
The Dodgers are basically what the Yankees used to be about 20-25 years ago. Highest payroll in baseball, have the money to get whatever big names they want, and it's been that way for a lot of years now. All they have to show for it is one championship in a hampered season and blown opportunities in other years, and that is a huge problem. I've seen this before in baseball. The Braves had that streak of division titles, but only won the World Series once, and that was in a slightly shortened season. Though that team did win five pennants, and two of their Series losses were to the Yankees juggernaut. The Dodgers' run is in danger of actually being worse than the Braves' run from 1991-2005. They have a good chance of at least getting to the World Series this year, but they can't get in their own way. If they fail this year, the already decreasing respect to 2020 will continue to plummet, and that's just a shame if that happens.
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