Dodgers Celebrate, But The Real Work Has Yet To Start

Dodgers Clinch 2017

The Champagne popped. The fans danced. The Dodgers ran around and sprayed the bubbly all over each other as Tommy Lasorda looked on with pride. Dodger stadium shook and the fireworks exploded in the Chavez Ravine fall sky. The Dodgers had finally done it. They had  clinched the National League west division title. They did it in style too, beating their arch rival the San Francisco Giants by a 4-2 score. Southpaw Rich Hill dominated tossing six innings of one-run ball and striking out nine. Mega rookie Cody Bellinger provided the big blow with a three-run home run in the fourth inning, his 39th of the season breaking the National League rookie home run record. All was well with the world.

As the Dodgers celebrated deep into the night and Clayton Kershaw, Yasiel Puig and the rest of the Dodgers shook their asses inside a drenched clubhouse, we look ahead to the real test. The postseason lies ahead with only eight games remaining in the regular season and the Dodgers had best be ready for the fight that is before them.

This year’s celebration seemed a bit subdued to be honest. I wasn’t as jubilant as I had been in previous seasons. Not that I wasn’t happy. Don’t get me wrong here, division titles are always fun and wonderful to recognize. But I like many Dodger fans know that we have been here before. The Dodgers know it too. This is the Dodger’s fifth consecutive NL West title. They’ve dominated the division since 2013, but have yet to win a World Series championship or even make a World Series appearance during that stretch. They’ve come close, but that’s all.

I think this is the Dodger’s best team during this five year run. The talent is deep on this club and Dave Roberts is such a good manager. No other Dodger club is more equipped than ever before. Yet the Dodgers are still coming off one of the worst stretches of baseball we have ever seen. They had lost 20 of their last 25 and have gone 7-20 in their last 27 games. This is the same club that has won 98 games and had three different winning streaks of 10 or more games. This is also the same team that lost 11 consecutive games and were almost swept by the woeful Phillies.

The Dodgers are still the best team in baseball. With a 98-56 record they hold that spot with a 2 game advantage over the Cleveland Indians for home field advantage and a 5.5 game lead over the Nationals for home field advantage in the National League playoffs. There is still something to play for with home field advantage yet to be decided.

The Dodgers came so close last year after losing to the Cubs in the NLCS. Those same stupid Cubs will undoubtedly be back this postseason albeit with a lesser record and lower seed. The defending champions will be just as tough to beat as the Nationals or Snakes.

When a club goes through a long World Series drought as the Dodgers have done it creates a very weird narrative amongst the fans. It’s like a black pall that hangs over the team and their fans. Picture a dark raincloud if you will that constantly urinates failure. So what happens is that it becomes a mental thing. Fans start to expect the team to lose in the playoffs and then when it does we all just nod our heads throw up our hands and say “see! I told you they would choke!” “They always choke”!

Something like that is so hard to overcome because it permeates the players, the team, and the organization. There is nothing worse for any professional team then an extended championship drought. It’s hard to beat. Just ask the Cubs. They had a 108 year drought to get over and an entire century of mythology to get past. It wasn’t easy for them and it won’t be any easier for the Dodgers.

The Dodgers will have to take a page right out of the 1988 team’s playbook. Just ask Tommy Lasorda. You have to have focus on every pitch. Every inning becomes a chess-match. Every play is a battle. You can’t let up even for an instant. One mistake could cost the season. Ask Orel Hershiser, he knows.

So while the Dodgers throw out their day-after clinch post celebration lineup that should see O’koyea Dickson batting third, Rob Segedin batting lead-off and last year’s hero Charlie Culberson batting clean-up just remember one thing.

Temper your expectations. Celebrate, party and praise the Dodgers for being an excellent team this year, which they no doubt are. However just remember that we’ve been here before. We need 11 more wins and three more celebrations. That last celebration will be the one to really let loose. Congratulations Dodgers! Now it’s time to get to work.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Former Co-editor of Lasorda's Lair. Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
Twitter

12 thoughts on “Dodgers Celebrate, But The Real Work Has Yet To Start

  1. Agree on a few points:

    1) I smiled for 3 sec thinking about what we accomplished last night (and it actually is a big deal to last 162 games and win this division).

    2) 5 years in a row winning the division is amazing

    3) it’d be great to wake up a bit, play better, and wrap up home field throughout

    4) enough of the politics talk, especially because it isn’t civil. Chill out, and go smoke one, then come back and post

    1. Bobby

      It is hard to feel where your heart is with the team, because of the great winning streak, and then the almost collapse.

      But the truth is any team in the post season has a chance to win it all, including the Dodgers!

      It would probably fit this season more, if we suddenly started playing good baseball, and dominated the next 11 games, but I think even if the team did that, they would start up slow, and gain energy with every game and every series, they won.

      And that is exactly what the Cubbies did last year, because they almost lost that first series, against the Giants last year, it went to the last game, and the last inning, in that last game, in that first series, against the Giants!

      And that sounds more like something the Dodgers would do.

      It was nice to see Corey get a hit last night, even if it was just a single, because Corey, and Turner, are our most consistent hitters, and they help our offense, be more productive.

      And how can anyone not feel for Corey, with what he is going through right now, with his elbow, barking.

      And a productive offense, is almost a must, in the post season, against good pitching.

      Now that they clinched, it will be easier to watch them play, but I hope they can find a way, to try to stay sharp!

      That is part of the problem in the post season, because the post season, is nothing like baseball is, all season long.

      First the weather gets cold, and then the team’s with the best records, are waiting around to play, while the wild card teams, are playing baseball, and having that many days off, is not what the team’s do all season long.

      So that takes these teams like the Dodgers, out of their element a little, and that why I think the wild card teams, have done well, in the post season.

      I don’t care who we face, it would feel really good if we beat the Dbacks, or even the Cardinals, in the post season.

      And I expect the Dbacks to be a little over confident in the post season, but everyone has to remember that we were throwing the starting pitchers, at the back of our rotation, and the Dbacks were throwing their top starting pitchers, in these last two series, that we faced the Dbacks, when we they beat us!

      And other then the Indians, I don’t see many teams doing well, and playing well right now, so any of these teams in the post season, can get hot and win, including our Los Angeles Dodgers!

      And I wonder if Cody beat this rookie record in the less games, then the other two players, that he passed, for the all time rookie record, for HRs?

      Because he didn’t start the season, in the majors, so this record is even more special, and Cody is special, because he is more then just a HR hitter!

      1. MJ,
        Corey is in a bad slump, currently, along with the rest of the team. They are batting .210 for the month. Do you realize how paltry that is? No team will win in the playoffs like this unless they had a pitching staff that were outright dominating which they don’t have. The team really is in disarray no matter how you spin it.

        Arizona is losing a fair amount of games, but do you notice how many runs they score in some of these losses? They are a hot hitting team. Dodgers must shut them down with pitching because the bats are not going to do it against Arizona or any of the other contenders, like Washington.

        Plus, the Dodgers are on a path to lose home field advantage if they make it to the WS. There is a 1 game differential between Cleveland and our boys. With the momentum in Cleveland’s favor, the smart money is on Cleveland to win home field. They have better pitching and bats than we do and are on an upward trajectory. Dodgers are in serious trouble.

  2. Hey Bobby, How about 14 consecutive division titles for Atlanta!!! Nothing really to get too excited about. Any real excitement has been killed off by the team’s descent into their current malaise. And, malaise it is. They are not in a good position as they’ve lost their momentum which is so important for a team going into the playoffs.

    The reality is that we are going to have to blast through teams like Arizona who are batting at an exceptional clip lately and who have what it takes to get through us, plus probably Washington, who have the best rotation in baseball. With our guys not hitting to their potential, this doesn’t bode well

    And, if that is not a Herculean task, Cleveland or Houston will be waiting with bats and pitching that surpass us. This is going to take a miracle to win the WS this year. I’m not saying miracles don’t happen, but the Dodgers are going to be in for the ride of their lives come the playoffs.

    I do want to acknowledge the tremendous contributions of some key players for the Dodgers that helped put us in this position to win the division. Probably the MVP for the team is Turner. In spite of his being hurt and missing time, he’s had a career year and didn’t taper off when he returned to the lineup.
    Then there is Bellinger, who some may feel is the real key to this successful season. What an addition he is. Fully formed in his rookie year and getting better all the time!

    And, how about Chris Taylor. No one thought he would have the kind of year and impact on the team that he has. Has matched Corey in almost every category and is even more versatile with his glove and on the bases.

    Puig deserves mention as this is his most consistent year and shows that his improvement has been noticed and should continue.

    Kershaw, of course, needs no mention. He is in a league of his own and if not for his health, he would have won the MVP and Cy Young this year. An all time great pitcher.

    Alex Wood, who has had a career year, and has carried the Dodgers when Kershaw went down, deserves the most improved player award. His turnaround is nothing short of amazing.

    Kenley Jansen, a guy Timmons wanted to see traded, having another excellent year. An HOF player that we’ll see here for some more years, thankfully.

    1. Jeff

      Actually in the last eleven games, the Dodgers are 6 and 5, and the Dbacks have the exactly same record, in these last eleven games, and the rest of our division, has not been as good, in these last eleven games.

      Once the Dbacks built their lead, in the wild card race, they have seemed to let down, just like the Dodgers did, after they built their big lead, even before September.

      So it seems to be it is more human nature, that causes players, to lose the edge, that they once had, after they get ahead, much like the Dbacks, and Dodgers have.

      And the Dodgers got so far ahead, of every team in all of baseball this year, so it is very hard for the players, to keep that edge that long, especially with such an enormous lead, like they had!

    2. ya man, and honestly, I’d love to ask a die hard Braves fan “at what point did you all stop giving a F about the division titles?” like was it 5? 8? 10? If we don’t at least get to the world series this year, I”m sure we’ll all start feeling that way too

  3. KERSHAW IS NOT THE PITCHER HE USE TO BE …YES HE IS GREAT ..BUT IT STARTING TO BE ON THE DOWN HILL HE GAVE UP WAY TO MANY HR THIS YR..
    JUST MY TAKE ON HIM

  4. Interesting fact about Karsten.

    Ryu taken out in the 3rd inning. He hurt his arm. So who does Roberts bring in? Stripling. Big mistake IMO.

  5. Stripling replaced by McCarthy in the 4th. Good to see him back. He has an old school delivery now, taking a lot of time winding up and throwing. 3 up, 3 down including a K.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Optionally add an image (JPEG only)