Playoff Collapsed Analysis

Wednesday, October 26, 2022
Copyrighted by Sarah Morris, 2022

The Los Angeles Dodgers disappointed everyone when they lost to the San Diego Padres in the NLDS. Some people say it was the biggest disappointment in baseball history. These people want to change everything about the Dodgers, including the manager, after the 111-win season.

Manager Dave Roberts did not cause the loss in the NLDS, yet he made some mistakes. He did not hit with runners in scoring position, hurl a pitch, or commit an error. While Roberts is easy to blame, he did not want to end the Dodger season with a loss. He did not have a healthy bullpen.

Unlike during the regular season, the Dodgers did not have a sense of fun in the dugout. At no time, the television cameras showed Hanser Alberto who was left off the playoff roster after having a miserable 2022 offensive performance. Although leaving Alberto off the playoff roster was a correct decision, Alberto was the emotional leader of the clubhouse and kept the team loose. During the NLDS, no one ever smiled or enthusiastically clapped for his teammates. With every at-bat, the Dodger hitters became tighter and tighter, and no tight baseball player performs well.

The Dodger front office likes to have a businesslike atmosphere, and this does not win world championships. The Dodgers must remember baseball is a game to provide fun and entertainment to both the players and fans. At no time during the NLDS, the Dodgers seemed to be having fun. This caused the early exit of the playoffs.

No one is more disappointed than I am. Since next year is my thirtieth year writing about the Dodgers full-time, I would love to write about a full-season Dodger world championship. That has been my dream. Unlike in 2017, I did not cry when the Dodgers were eliminated since I know the 2022 Dodgers had shortcomings.

The Dodger hitters could not forget the pressure and produce. Being patient at the plate is valuable, but it opens the Dodgers to bad home plate umpiring. I do not usually comment on the umpiring. The umpiring during the NLDS was awful, and it caused many unnecessary outs, and Dave Roberts should have argued and got ejected, but he did not.

No hitter at the plate who is trying too hard is successful. The Dodgers did not believe the San Diego Padres were a worthy opponent, and this was nonsense. The players panicked when they discovered the Padres were not the same team that the Dodgers beat them for 14 games. The Dodgers let the lofty expectations get to them, and they did not meet them.

The Dodgers should have a better defensive infield if they want to win a world championship. While they have one of the best outfield defenses, their infield is poor. Freddie Freeman is the only Dodger infielder who is Gold Glove-caliber, and he saved countless errors for his fellow infielders. Since 2018, the Dodgers have not had a regular second baseman. Neither Gavin Lux nor Max Muncy is a defensive liability. The Dodgers should move Mookie Betts, who loves to play second base, there, and his offensive production should improve. Trea Turner, a free agent, should be replaced, and making two errors during the NLDS is inexcusable. I rather have Lux at shortstop than an aging overpriced veteran. Neither Muncy nor Justin Turner can play a satisfactory third base.

The Dodgers must figure out what to do with Cody Bellinger in the 2023 season, and sitting him during the NLDS hurt both the defense and the team morale. After having three consecutive subpar offensive performances, Bellinger is an elite defender in the center field. To me, the Dodgers need Bellinger’s defense and an occasional home run. Under pressure, Bellinger typically performs well.

No team with world championship aspirations should have starters who can go only five innings. For the second consecutive year, the Dodgers went into the postseason with an injured pitching staff. Both Julio Urías and Clayton Kershaw should have hurled longer than five innings though they did not have their best stuff. Both Andrew Heaney and Tyler Anderson were brilliant, but the Dodger front office and Roberts have a fear of having a starter facing the opposing lineup for a third time in the playoffs. This fear has cost the Dodgers a world championship. They must address and rebuild the starting rotation.

The Dodgers must rebuild their bullpen. While they cannot count on Blake Treinen or Brusdar Graterol to be healthy, the Dodgers need to re-sign Chris Martin. They need to find a dependable closer.

Andrew Friedman was correct to call the collapse in the NLDS an “organizational failure.” Although I am disappointed, I do not view the 2022 Dodgers as a failure.

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