The Los Angeles Dodgers were a juggernaut in the 2022 regular season.
They won 111 games and lost just 51: they were 22 games ahead of the closest competition in the NL West.
That “closest competition”, the San Diego Padres, left the Dodgers with no chance of advancing to the NL Championship Series, though, by taking the Division Series three games to one.
It was one of the most shocking developments of the season and can be considered as one of the biggest failures in the history of the game.
Now, as the Padres prepare to play the Philadelphia Phillies for the National League crown, it’s time to get back to the drawing board for the Dodgers.
The Playoffs Are A Whole Different Tournament
A Dodgers analyst offered his thoughts about what went wrong with the Dodgers and if the current format is being unfair to dominant regular season teams like them.
“Small samples have flaws (Dodgers went 1-5 vs Pirates this season), but that’s the system. If we’re trying to eliminate randomness, why have a postseason at all? Should the Dodgers have started each series with a one-game lead? The playoffs aren’t about crowning the best team,” Bill Shaikin tweeted.
Small samples have flaws (Dodgers went 1-5 vs Pirates this season), but that's the system. If we're trying to eliminate randomness, why have a postseason at all? Should the Dodgers have started each series with a one-game lead?
The playoffs aren't about crowning the best team.
— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) October 17, 2022
Shaikin said that this isn’t on the short series: this is on the Dodgers.
The phrase with which he closed his previous tweet makes a lot of sense: “The playoffs aren’t about crowning the best team.”
Of course, the best team could potentially win the World Series, but more often than not, other factors come into play.
How hot a team is, the playing rhythm and the debate on whether the first-round bye is actually beneficial, the quality of the bullpen, performing under pressure, the manager, preparedness, hitting with runners in scoring position…there are several factors to consider in playoff baseball.
The last champion to repeat a title in MLB was the 1998-2000 three-peat New York Yankees: that’s how hard it is to repeat.