Coming off back-to-back defeats in the World Series, the Los Angeles Dodgers entered the 2019 season with plenty of motivation to end the franchise’s championship drought. Unlike last year, they avoided a slow start to the season and went on to claim another National League West title.
The Dodgers did so by boat-racing the division en route to a franchise-record 106 games. Despite locking up the division at one of the earliest points in Dodgers history, they remained focused and closed the regular season on a seven-game winning streak.
With the best record in the NL secured, the Dodgers set themselves up to face the winner of the Wild Card Game. Though that’s generally considered an advantageous position, the Dodgers wound up losing to the Washington Nationals in the NL Division Series.
After defeating the Dodgers in Game 5, the Nationals went on to sweep the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Championship Series, and defeat the Houston Astros in seven games in the World Series.
According to ESPN Stats and Info, the Nationals made MLB history by staving off elimination three times during their remarkable postseason run:
The Nationals are the 2nd team in MLB history to win the World Series after being at least 12 games below .500 during the regular season (1914 Braves).
They are also the 1st team in MLB history to win 3 winner-take-all games in a single postseason. pic.twitter.com/Y9lCONbLQR
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 31, 2019
The Dodgers’ ties to the Nationals’ impressive October also extends to their roster, as Brian Dozier, Javy Guerra, Daniel Hudson and Howie Kendrick each previously spent time with L.A. Kendrick broke his former teammate’s hearts with a grand slam in the 10th inning of NLDS Game 5, and delivered a go-ahead home run in Game 7 of the World Series as well.
He became the sixth player in World Series history to hit a go-ahead homer in the seventh inning or later of Game 7, and at 36 years and 110 days old, is the fourth-oldest player to hit a home run in a decisive Game 7 of the World Series.
The Nationals not only won their first postseason series this year — but first title as well — by heavily relying on their starting rotation. They went a combined 10-0 when Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg started, which finished as the best team record in games started by a duo in a single postseason in MLB history.
For the Dodgers, they now have had their postseason end at the hands of the World Series champion four consecutive years.