Sunday, October 03, 2021

On the 2021 Season

We never got to celebrate.

Unlike the other six divisional champions, the two AL Wild Card teams who won on their final day, and even our upcoming opponent, the St. Louis Cardinals: the Dodgers didn't get to celebrate making the playoffs this year. An outstanding 6-0 sweep in the final homestand, including a thrilling come-from-behind "1 + 4" game against the Padres, coupled with two Trea Turner grand slams against the Brewers--all were eclipsed by the Giants beating a Padres team who didn't even put up a fight in their final game.

15 straight home victories, a franchise record, did not get an opportunity to receive its deserved commendation. Instead, fans in attendance for Fan Appreciation Day left the Stadium with worry about the elbow of Max Muncy, our team leader in home runs, set in (not to mention the evaporation of Clayton Kershaw's postseason availability, thanks to an injury earlier this series).

We didn't get a chance to celebrate. And it sucks.

I'm very appreciative of the Dodgers gutting this season out for a ninth-straight postseason appearance (remember, the franchise record for consecutive postseason appearanes was TWO, prior to this run). I know it wasn't the divisional title we wanted, but honestly with a 106-56 record, there weren't that many "shoulda coulda" losses on which to reflect. (UPDATE: Longtime reader ubragg pointed out the 7/22 Darin Ruf non-call game as a key game that was robbed from the Dodgers, which is absolutely correct. I clearly had buried that one away in the deep recesses of my mind.)

Not to mention, Dave Roberts and Andrew Friedman guided this team through the embarrassing distraction of Trevor Bauer; the early-season loss of starter Dustin May; the physically corrosive injuries to Cody Bellinger. Mookie Betts doesn't seem 100%. Our starting rotation is down to three real arms (Max Scherzer, Walker Buehler, and Julio Urias). And our bullpen seems to be performing better than it should be, anchored by a surprising bounceback season from Kenley Jansen.

This could be Corey Seager's last year as a Dodger. And Chris Taylor, too. No to mention Kershaw, of course. (cries, for all three)

This is a great team. We won 106 games.

It's very likely that we won't win any others, given the capriciousness of the baseball gods.

But before we get to the stomach-churning stress of the NL Wild Card Game, I'm trying to take a second to at least show appreciation for these guys for even getting to the playoffs in the first place.

It's been a great year, Dodgers. Thank you.



karen said...

Great wrap up Sax. Every thing you said was spot on. I too am so proud of this 2021 version of our Boys in blue. I'm focusing on the Wednesday game against the Cardinals. By then our Boys should be in control of their destiny. On the post game show there was talk about Max Scherzer being angry. Not sure what that means but maybe pitching angry (Kenley) will give him an edge.

QuadSevens said...

Scherzer being like Hulk works for me. I want to see his raging fire on the mound on Wednesday.

ubragg said...

Great writeup. Even with how it turned out, this has been a thrilling run the past month and it has been a joy to watch this team every night.

I'm still super excited for the game Wednesday, where presumably they can get that opportunity to celebrate (knock on wood), and especially for the chance to take on the Giants in the first ever postseason matchup with them.

That said, while there aren't many woulda shoulda coulda moments, this one has stood out to me and been in the back of my mind ever since the moment it happened, and sure enough, that one call ended up making up the entire difference in who won the division.

Steve Sax said...

@ubragg! Ah shit, you’re right! I was at that game, dammit!

Now I’m mad like a Scherzer.

QuadSevens said...

Steve Sax said...

Nice job Quad!

I wish this blog allowed gif comments. Sigh.