By: Darcy Waskiewicz, Sports Editor
Almost everyone can claim they know who the Los Angeles Dodgers are, whether that person is an avid baseball fan or can just recognize the classic L and A logo on a “Dodger Blue” hat. There is a reason for that. The Dodgers are one of the most well-known teams in Major League Baseball, and, in recent years, have had impressive seasons to support the team’s immense popularity.
The Los Angeles Dodgers became the first team to clinch a spot in the 2019 Playoffs on Sept. 10 with a 7-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles, the team’s seventh consecutive National League West title. But, despite the Dodger’s seven consecutive postseason appearances since 2013, the team has no rings to show for their recent success.
The Dodgers do have six World Series titles, with their first win coming from when the team was still located in Brooklyn. However, their last win was in 1998. After seven years of postseason disappointment and back-to-back World Series losses in 2017 and 2018, the 2019 Los Angeles Dodgers team looked to stray from recent history and do everything possible to ensure postseason success. So far, the team has done exactly that.
The Dodgers came charging out of the gate in April with a dominant 12-5 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the team hasn’t looked back since. Made up of a mix of veteran presence and rookies, the Dodgers have had an outstanding 2019 season, with a combination of explosive offense and solid defense.
The team leads the National League in home runs this season, and set the record for most home runs in a single season in National League history with 250 back on Sept. 4, a number that has continued to grow since then. The Dodgers also have eleven players with 10 or more home runs, led by young two-time All-Star and 2018 National League MVP runner-up Cody Bellinger, who has 45 home runs and counting.
Adding to the immense success that the 2019 Dodgers have had so far is the team’s capability to come back and win in walk-off fashion. The Dodgers lead the MLB this season with ten walk-off home wins, seven of those resulting from home runs.
This season, the Dodgers became one of the fastest teams to clinch a postseason spot after just 146 games with a record of 94-52, a vast difference from the dramatic way the team crawled into the 2018 postseason in the last game of the regular season.
In order for the Los Angeles Dodgers to truly have postseason success this
season, the team will need to rely on their big names to step up and stay consistent throughout October. One of those big names is veteran and eight-time All-Star pitcher Clayton Kershaw, who has been with the team for twelve seasons now and has been there for all of the success and disappointment. Between his postseason experience and 12-5 record, Kershaw is a significant factor in the success that the Dodgers can have this October.
The young players must also continue to embrace the bigger responsibilities given to them. Come October, the Dodgers will be relying on the offense that 21-year-old second baseman Gavin Lux has been producing, and the sharp mind of 24-year-old catcher Will Smith, who’s walk-up song is exactly what you expect it to be.
The Dodgers have had a record-breaking season. But they have done that before. In order for the Dodgers to truly cement the dynasty the team has been developing in recent years, they must achieve the one thing the team has come within four runs of grasping. Could this finally be their year?