Dave Roberts Ranks 2019 Roster ‘Best’ Dodgers Team, Grapples With World Series Or Bust Narrative

Winners of seven consecutive National League West titles and back-to-back NL pennants, the Los Angeles Dodgers have enjoyed plenty of success under manager Dave Roberts. More bluntly, they’ve accomplished just about everything — except win a World Series.

In 2017 they made MLB history with a 43-7 stretch, boat-raced the division and finished with the best record in baseball. This season, the Dodgers set a franchise record in overall and home wins, hit the most home runs in NL history and clinched the best record in the league.

“I think top to bottom, it’s the best team we’ve had,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said after an NL Division Series workout at Dodger Stadium. “The most important part of this is you’ve still got to go out there and win baseball games and play good baseball.

“But I do think the experience, the successes, the failures as far as the World Series and not finishing, I think that’s at the forefront of all of our minds as far as the care out there and the focus. We’re in a good place mentally. Like we’ve talked about before, it’s playing good baseball and competing against ourselves essentially as far as the opponent.”

Boasting the talented roster Roberts raved about and having reached World Series in back-to-back years, external pressure on the Dodgers seemingly is at an all-time high. It invariably has fueled a narrative of 2019 being a lost season should it not end in a championship for L.A.

“That’s a tough one,” answered Roberts when asked if he agreed it was essentially World Series or bust for the Dodgers. “Right now, where we’re at, what we’ve accomplished, we have a chance to be the best team in Dodgers history. The wins we accumulated this year, it means something. It means a lot. Getting the ring, first time since ’88, we have another opportunity.

“It takes a lot of people to get where we’re at right now and the ultimate goal is to win 11 games in October. To look at it as a failure, it certainly would be very disappointing. I just think it’s tough. Not taking it lightly in the sense that we don’t expect anything less than a championship. That goes without saying.

“But to take away, to say what everyone in this organization did from scouts to player development to staff to players to coaches, if ultimately we’re not the last team standing, to say it was a failed season, I think that takes away from a lot of hard work people did. But our only goal is to win a championship. The fans deserve it, the players deserve it, and we are equipped to accomplish that goal.”