The Washington Nationals are heading to the World Series igniting a city that is quickly threatening to become title town. Meanwhile in Los Angeles, they are thinking about what might have been. They were one game away from beating down a St Louis Cardinals team that was obviously out of gas.
Over his first four seasons, Dave Roberts has led the Dodgers to 91, 104, 92, and 106 wins. That’s incredible. The Dodgers are 393-256 record (.606 winning percentage) during that time period. The flip side is, they have no World Series to show for it.
After throwing away the series against the Houston Astros, they followed it up with being dominated by the Boston Red Sox. Then this year happened. It was all set up for Los Angeles except facing Washington in a five game series meant the Nationals dominating starting pitching could win the series. That along with Nationals manager Dave Martinez’ aggressive management of the bullpen won the series 3-2. It was a series saw Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg come out of the bullpen to help the Nats suspect relievers.
Roberts lost the series by pitching Kershaw too long and staying with Joe Kelly. You read that right. With the best Dodgers team in four years having their season in the balance, Roberts chose to lose it with Kelly on the mound.
This isn’t a “fire Roberts” article. The Dodgers should stay with Roberts as their manager as long as these type of mistakes don’t continue.
Dodgers President of Operations, Andrew Friedman, has done an excellent job with the organization. According to reports, Friedman is on the cusp of signing an extension. Friedman deserves as much credit as anyone for the Dodgers recent success.
He has resisted trading the next generation of Dodgers for short term fixes. It’s the reason why Dustin May, Gavin Lux, and a recovering Corey Seager will ensure that the Dodgers will continue to win in the future. The problem is, with the Dodgers roster, the were also supposed to win now.
So how do you “fix” a team that, on paper, doesn’t need fixing? The simple answer is to stay with the plan that has gotten the Dodgers to this point along with some subtle adjustments by Roberts.
But, no matter what happens going forward, this year will sting. It will sting because how they lost the Nationals series. How the bats went flat in the later innings. How Roberts mismanaged a 3-1 lead in the fifth and deciding game.
All the ‘what-ifs’ have left the city of angels blue.