Coming off back-to-back losses in the World Series, the Los Angeles Dodgers entered the 2019 season with the same sky-high expectations attached to them from previous years.
The club jumped out to an excellent start and cruised to a seventh consecutive National League West title behind a franchise-record 106 wins during the regular season, clinching home-field advantage throughout the NL portion of the playoffs in the process.
With their eyes set on returning to the Fall Classic for a third straight year, the Dodgers began their postseason run with a matchup against the Washington Nationals in the NL Division Series.
The Nationals, who advanced after winning the NL Wild Card Game, defied all odds and pulled off a stunning upset victory over the Dodgers in five contests. It marked L.A.’s earliest postseason exit since 2015, when they were defeated by the New York Mets in the NL Division Series.
“Certainly home weeks before we anticipated. … It just wasn’t meant to be. Man, you look back at this Dodgers team, we did a lot of things really, really well. We won 106 games, Bellinger is probably going to be the MVP, Hyun-Jin is maybe the Cy Young — probably in the top three in the Cy Young for sure — we had a healthy Kershaw make 30 starts, we had nothing but rookie after rookie come up and make major impacts. We’re going to be really good for a really long time.
“I know fans, our locker room, our coaches, everyone, our families, we’re super disappointed and upset. We’ve lost, obviously, in the World Series the last two years and the locker room when you lose in a World Series, you’re bummed, you’re sad and in silence almost, and then you get up and hug each other. It stinks to think of the grind to get through Spring Training and then the grind to get through 162 games and stay healthy and now you’re the one seed and trying to get back to the World Series, and it gets cut short, it sucks. … The way it went down, it couldn’t have been worse.”
As Stripling noted, there are plenty of reasons for optimism regarding the Dodgers and their future outlook. The organization boasts one of the deepest farm systems in all of baseball, and that was evident this season with eight players making their MLB debut.
Meanwhile, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman additionally explained he will be open-minded when it comes to potential free agent signings and trades this offseason. L.A. is already being linked to Gerrit Cole ahead of his upcoming free agency.