It’s that time of year again: the final two baseball teams in Major League Baseball square off to see who will be crowned World Series champion of 2019. Yet for the third year in a row, the Los Angeles Dodgers have fallen short of victory.
It is beyond frustrating for every fan, including me, to see what analysts call one of the most well-rounded teams in the league being dubbed chokers in every postseason.
“I have been a die-hard Dodger fan since I was born and I have never been so upset with my organization,” California Lutheran University student Ryan Murphy said.
Murphy said he believes the struggles with the organization go above and beyond their postseason woes, starting with Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers’ pitcher.
“Every year in October he never fails to rip my heart out by giving up run after run, and it shocks me that Dave Roberts [the Dodgers’ manager] still thinks it’s a good idea to have him pitch in these moments,” Murphy said.
Kershaw has been called “the choker,” and in game five of the 2019 National League Division Series postseason Kershaw gave up two back-to-back homeruns, allowing the Washington Nationals to come back and take the series title.
“I had one job to do, just get three outs. Got one out and didn’t get the other two. Went over the fence and cost us the game right there,” Kershaw told the Los Angeles Times.
According to the LA Times, Kershaw walked off the field while the audience booed.
If that wasn’t enough, Dodgers’ relief pitcher Joe Kelly gave up a season ending walk-off homerun in the tenth inning to Howie Kendrick, a former Dodgers player and current Washington Nationals baseman, signifying the Dodgers’ postseason voodoo.
“I let down the guys in the clubhouse, that’s the hardest part every year,” Kershaw told the LA Times. “When you don’t win the last game of the season and you’re to blame for it, it’s not fun… it’s just a terrible feeling.”
Kershaw is a three-time Cy Young award winner and the National League’s most valuable player in 2014.
Kershaw also has a regular season earned run average of 2.44, but in the postseason it jumps to 4.43. This will be known as the greatest disparity of any single regular starting pitcher in the MLB ever, according to LA Times sports columnist Bill Plaschke.
Noah Morrow, a Cal Lutheran student and Dodgers season ticket holder for more than five years, believes the decisions by Roberts and the rest of the coaching staff to put Kershaw in cost them the game and series.
“Once I saw Kershaw was coming in to relieve, [I thought] that we were most likely going to lose, and well, I was right,” Morrow said.
In the scheme of things, it wasn’t only Kershaw who struggled in the postseason this year.
Contender for 2019 National League MVP Cody Bellinger’s stats have dropped in the postseason and A.J. Pollock struck out more times than I can count. The list goes on.
“The Dodgers hit .220/.303/ .428 as a team, scoring a little over four runs per game, more than a run fewer than their National League-best offense during the regular season,” according to an article on SB Nation.
The Dodgers batting averages of .220 was a periodical regression from their fantastic regular season percentages. They could not get on base in a pressure situation if their lives depended on it.
“I love the Dodgers, but every year my heart is left absolutely broken by the organization,” Murphy said.
I think the Dodgers might be the best team ever to not win a World Series title.
My heart breaks, just like every Dodger fan out there. It has been hard to watch the best team in MLB continue to fall apart year after year. I do not know when this will end, but the Dodgers organization really needs to step up and figure this out, for the sake of all Dodger fans.