The Los Angeles Dodgers are under the microscope again after struggling to carry their regular season excellence into the postseason.
After winning 100 games for the third consecutive year, buoyed by an excellent and record-breaking August, the Dodgers were swept out of the playoffs by a familiar foe: the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Dodgers won 16 more games than the D-Backs in the regular season en route to their 10th National League West title in 11 years. But Arizona flipped the postseason switch, making quick work of the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Wild Card series before dismantling the Dodgers in three games in the NLDS.
Future Hall of Famer and Game 1 starter Clayton Kershaw gave up six runs while recording only one out in the first inning at Dodger Stadium. They would go on to lose that game 11-2.
Game 2 was more of the same as promising Dodgers rookie Bobby Miller gave up three runs in less than two innings before being yanked by manager Dave Roberts. Clutch hits didn’t materialize and the Dodgers lost 4-2.
In Game 3, Lance Lynn, who was acquired by the Dodgers in a mid-season trade, made it further than either of the previous starters, but came undone in the third inning, giving up four home runs in six at-bats before being pulled by manager Dave Roberts.
The four home runs in a single inning by one team was the most in MLB postseason history.
The postseason struggles of the Dodgers are well-known and, aside from the 2020 World Series title in a pandemic-shortened season, questions about the team’s makeup and leadership have become a popular topic of conversation.
By all accounts, the 2022 postseason was an even greater disaster for The Boys in Blue.
After winning a franchise record 111 games and leading the NL West by 22 games, the Dodgers deteriorated in the NLDS against the SoCal rival San Diego Padres in four games.
2023 looked to be a year of change, a retooling while remaining competitive.
The team said goodbye to shortstop Trea Turner in the summer. His heir-apparent, Gavin Lux, was injured in spring training and missed the entire season. The infield issues necessitated the move of Mookie Betts from the outfield into the infield and saw the team make multiple trade deadline deals, including acquiring Amed Rosario from the Cleveland Guardians and bringing back fan favorite Kiké Hernández from the Boston Red Sox.
Despite lineup uncertainty with the Dodgers bats, it was the pitching staff that faced the most turmoil in the 2023 campaign
The team boasted four starting pitchers with sub 2.60 ERAs, including Kershaw, Tyler Anderson, Julio Urias and Tony Gonsolin.
Anderson signed a deal with the Los Angeles Angels last summer, Gonsolin suffered a season-ending shoulder injury and Julio Urias has been placed on administrative leave by the MLB following a highly publicized arrest in September for felony domestic violence. That investigation is ongoing.
The loss of three critical starters prematurely forced the 24-year-old Miller into the spotlight this postseason.
But much of the tumult can also be directed toward the Dodgers’ two best and most important players.
MVP candidates Betts and Freddie Freeman both struggled mightily in the 2023 NLDS. The two combined for one hit in 21 at-bats throughout the Divisional Series.
Betts’s struggles date back to the last postseason. The seven-time All-Star has only two hits in his last 25 postseason at-bats.
Now, manager Dave Roberts is likely feeling his seat warm up following another disappointing postseason outing. Roberts is one of the winningest managers in baseball, but his teams have repeatedly struggled to get over the proverbial postseason hump.
Despite roster issues that plagued the team all season, another inauspicious postseason run has led to many calling for Roberts to be dismissed. The team has made no indication it plans to bring on a new manager, but a decision would likely come fairly soon.