Throughout the regular season there were three teams in the NL that had somewhat separated themselves as the league’s three best teams; the 101-win Braves, the 101-win Mets and the 111-win Dodgers. The NLCS starts on Tuesday and all three of those teams have already been sent home. The Cardinals finished fourth. They’ve been sent home also.
Instead, two teams who failed to win ninety games, the Padres and Phillies, will go to battle with a spot in the World Series on the line. Many people are questioning Major League Baseball’s new playoff format, but Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic says it’s too soon to blame the format for the amount of upsets we’ve seen thus far.
Both teams in the NLCS are hot as can be. Baseball is a sport of momentum and that has never been more clear. You can blame the layoff, you can say how ridiculous it is that a 162 game season comes down to a five game series, but at the end of the day, you need to perform when it matters most. The Dodgers didn’t do that. And if you think sitting at home preparing for five days is harder on a ball club than traveling and playing three high intensity road games and having to win two of them, I think you’re mistaken.
When asked about the new format having an impact on the Dodgers’ performance, Mookie Betts said: “I mean, if you want to use it for an excuse, then you can. But it’s definitely an excuse … Nobody cares. Nobody really cares at the end of the day.”
There are countless questions that can be asked and fingers to be pointed, but at the end of the day, the lack of postseason success falls on everyone. Jim Alexander of the Orange County Register breaks down why there’s not one singular person who should take the fall.
Jack Harris of the Los Angeles Times explains that even though the Dodgers are expected to bring Dave Roberts back, there will be plenty of change made throughout the offseason.
This season did not end how anyone had hoped. Juan Toribio of MLB.com breaks down what went wrong in Game 4 and delivers quotes from key players about the disappointing finish.