Another disappointing ending for the Dodgers’ season.
The Dodgers came into the postseason with a leadoff hitter in Mookie Betts who set records throughout the regular season.
They have first baseman Freddie Freeman, who was one home run and one double shy of reaching the 30/60 club and became the first ever first baseman to hit 25 home runs, hit 55 doubles, and steal 20 bases in a single season.
The quartet of Betts, Freeman, J.D. Martinez, and Max Muncy made history by all reaching 100 RBIs in the same season, the first time the Dodgers had four teammates reach that mark.
The team went on to win their fourth consecutive 100-win season in the past four full seasons — and yet, when it mattered the most, the Dodgers folded under the bright lights again.
How exactly did this team manage to blow away another shot at postseason success?
The starting pitching, which was the Dodgers’ ultimate weakness throughout the regular season, was horrendous as ever, allowing 13 runs in just 4⅔ innings in the NLDS for an ugly 25.08 ERA.
Even after a disastrous start to the first game of the series, the bullpen went on to minimize the damage and subsequently allowed just a single run over the next two games. Dodgers relievers combined for 21⅓ innings in the series, posting an impressive 2.53 ERA and striking out 24 hitters.
Even with the struggles of the rotation and the constant reliance on the bullpen, the ultimate undoing of the Dodgers in October this year was the same offense that was their primary strength, one which virtually carried this team into the postseason.
The Dodgers struggled with runners in scoring position in their defeat to the San Diego Padres in last season’s NLDS, yet this season’s version of the Dodgers failed to consistently put runners on base. The Dodgers never had a lead in the series, even when they had a chance to strike first on the road in the final loss to Arizona.
The dynamic duo, the two-headed monster that is Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman, who both had garnered MVP consideration through the majority of the season, went a combined 1-for-21 at the plate, with Betts going hitless in 11 at bats.
Jason Heyward, who had a strong, career-reviving season in his first year as a Dodger, went hitless in the series, striking out four times in just seven plate appearances. James Outman, who had come up huge in key situations in the regular season, also went hitless in the series.
The two bright spots in the Dodgers lineup throughout the series were J.D. Martinez and Will Smith. Martinez hit the only Dodger home run of the series in Game 2 off of Zac Gallen, and finished hitting just .200 with a respectable .833 OPS. Smith led the Dodgers team in hits in the series, led the team in extra-base hits, and led the team in RBI (with two), batting .417 with a 1.084 OPS. So much for all the hitting struggles he faced in the second half.
Even in limited time, Kiké Hernandez continued his greatness in the postseason, batting .375 in the series and driving in the Dodgers’ final run of the season in the top of the seventh inning.
For a team that had the second-highest run differential in all of baseball, for a team that the second highest OPS in all of baseball, and for a team that had three players tally 30 home runs and four tally 100 RBI, the Dodgers had arguably their most underwhelming series offensively in postseason history.
The Dodgers combined as a team for a slash of .177/.248/.250 with just a single home run and six RBI, while leaving 18 runners on base and hitting to an average of .235 with runners in scoring position, surprisingly higher than their average with RISP in last year’s NLDS.
Simply put, the Dodgers offense fell dormant, and it ultimately cost the team at a chance to remain competitive in the postseason. Their hitters failed to cash in early, or at any point, just as Arizona had done in the first two games, and when the Dodgers had a chance to lead off a game offensively, it took them seven innings and a four-run deficit to try and work their way back.
Now, the Dodgers will watch another NLCS on television.