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Dodgers Legend Ron Cey Shares Some Harsh Truths on LA’s NLDS Loss

Here at Dodgers Nation, we’re very lucky to be joined by some pretty prominent guests. Our most recent was one of the biggest legends in Dodger history, six-time All-Star and 1981 World Series Champion and MVP, the Penguin, Mr. Ron Cey.

Cey dropped by the studio to talk all things Dodgers. Among the topics was, of course, the Dodgers’ collapse in the 2022 NLDS. Cey shared his thoughts on what went wrong in that series, and what this team needs to do to get over the hump in the future.



It was such an honor to listen to a legend like Cey. More importantly, it’s great to draw on the knowledge of a player that was considered a top playoff performer in his day. Over 40 postseason games with the Dodgers, the third baseman hit .275 with an .824 on-base-plus-slugging percentage. He connected on 7 doubles, 6 homers, and drove in 24 runs over eight playoff series (notably, there was no division series in October back then).

At any rate, here’s what he had to say about that shocking series loss to the Padres.

“[The Dodgers] didn’t have any difficult games. There were no high risk games going down the stretch,” Cey said. “The Padres and the Phillies had to battle down to the wire and they got hot and that’s why they made it in.”

“It could’ve just been a lack of confidence. There’s no guarantee that after you play 162 games and you go into the playoffs that you’re on a high note,” Cey said. “They didn’t play a significant game for months. And after a while, I’m not saying that you weren’t trying, because they were still winning a lot of games, but the intensity level [wasn’t there]. And when you increase the intensity level when you have been kind of walking through this, then it affects people different ways. They start grinding it. And I thought they really got into a position where they were really grinding. They were trying to find it and they couldn’t find it.”

This is definitely something we’ve heard a lot. The Dodgers didn’t really play an important game for the last two months of the season, while the Padres and Phillies were playing just to get into the postseason. They had all the momentum going into the playoffs, while the Dodgers were cruising in. But Cey had a lot more to say on the Dodgers’ struggles.

“The Dodgers did not execute,” Cey said, “And you can say that they went in kind of ho-hum and they had some, they had more time off than they probably needed. They needed to be sharp. They caught them on a low. But if you remember, the Dodgers came out of the shoot — they won the first game rather handily — and then from that point on, they couldn’t hit with runners in scoring position and they got outplayed, simple as that.”

With all that being said, however, Cey even had his doubts entering the postseason. The Dodgers’ lineup, while statistically was the best in baseball, was by no means perfect — and those deficiencies showed up in the postseason.

“I think they started to feel the pressure. And when you do, all this can happen,” Cey said. “But I was kind of really surprised, too, that … the Dodgers had so many players in the lineup that were hovering around .200. You’re basically relying on three people, maybe four, and they’ve got to carry the weight. So if the three top guys in the top of the lineup and then you add Will Smith in the fourth spot, if they’re not getting it done, the bottom half of the lineup, you’re looking at three .200 hitters. And how do you expect to be able to do that?”

While it is important to move on from the disappointing NLDS loss, it’s always nice to hear the perspective from someone who’s been there before. Cey has won a World Series with the Dodgers, but he’s also lost a few. He knows what it takes to get there, and he knows what it feels like to lose. He was able to share that incredible perspective here at Dodgers Nation, so all Dodger fans who are wondering how the team lost after winning 111 games in last year’s regular season could get a little more clarity.

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Noah Camras

Noah is an Associate Staff Writer for Dodgers Nation. He graduated from USC in 2022 with a B.A. in Journalism and minor in Sports Media Studies. He's been a Dodger fan since he was a kid, and his all-time favorite Dodgers are Matt Kemp and Russell Martin — but Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman are very quickly making a case to be on that list.

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23 Comments

  1. So far Friedman did pick up Martinez, but other than that nothing but 200 hitters. It’s amazing to me how he keeps signing such poor hitters when it’a blatantly obvious like Cey points out. And it has been this way not like it just started. Mckinstry, Mckinnley, Bellinger, Neuse the list goes on and on.

  2. With the veteran core..They could use some hungry young players in the mix (outman, vargas, Jackson and miller) could just be what we need ..all got there feet wet last year.

  3. Well taking your dominating pitcher after 5 innings with the lead is something only a dum manager would do. That’s the main reason cause if Tyler pitches two more innings more than likely dodgers win tie series and play fifth game at dodgers stadium.But roberts and friedman chose wrong period

    1. I agree. And remember that’s what helped us win in 2020 vs Tampa Bay. Snell was absolutely dominating us and he got pulled early and we turned it atound. You’d think we would have learned a valuable lesson!

  4. The last season playoffs were a collective effort, or lack thereof, from the front office, the manager and the players.

  5. Roberts “F” up again. Yes he doesn’t swing at nor pitch a ball. But this is the PLAYOFFS we’re talking about not the regular season. He should throw that little black book away and trust his pitchers. He has no heart, no emotion and we played as such. What’s that saying…only an idiot/fool keeps doing the same thing over and over and expects different results. He has done the same thing yr after yr. He yes man Roberts “F” us again. Your starter is pitching a shutout leading by two. Hasn’t allowed a runner past 2nd base in a do or die game. And you pull him. Only a IDIOT FOOL makes that move for the 4th. Game in a roll.

  6. They want us to be happy they make the playoff’s and win a division. After that they act like teams have to get lucky to win.You create your own luck, Roberts is the most unlucky mngr in history. But one heck of a lucky guy having this job.

  7. The season was lost against the ROX the set at the Ravine a series before the PADRES. A six game set and our guys didn’t show up for 3 of those 6 games. That, my friends, is on the manager. You would never see LaSorda allowing his players to get complacent before a big series. Heads would have rolled. In that respect, DRob is responsible for the NLDS failure. I think the FO recognized the need for an identity change this offseason. Young, hungrier players need to play. Entitled guys need the young guys energy. I fully support what the FO is doing this offseason, even if it costs us the division getting into the playoffs behind the PADS who seem willing to buy a championship, even if it costs them 300Mil in players salaries as well as luxury taxes.

  8. This year’s lineup is even weaker. No Tre Turner so after Betts, Freeman and Smith you’re relying on unproven kids or the same .200 hitters you had last year like Taylor and Muncy. Hopefully Lux will be able to repeat his hitting performance but after that they got nothing.

  9. I’ve never seen a comment regarding this, but Andrew Friedman, prior to joining the Dodgers was an executive with Tampa Bay. His efforts in building a competitive team seem to mirror the winning history of the Rays organization: Almost, but not quite! Perhaps it’s time to find a G.M. who has proven success with building a post season winner…

    1. Friedman’s penchant for not delivering the big win, is in his own scouting report. He can’t tell the difference between regular season performance and playoff performance. A club can ride out a dozen games where 70% of their lineup is hitting at or below the Mendoza line, but not in the playoffs. On the bright side he completed 80% of “the bridge to nowhere”.

  10. Well, we certainly have managerial issues in big games/series. However when players capable of hitting for average are focused on launch angle rather than contact you end up with low OBP and poor results with RISP. The right thing doesn’t happen in baseball unless you are trying to do the right thing in a given situation. Baseball’s reward system is a mess, resulting in low BA and far too many strikeouts. Winning comes from situational adjustments. For example, the Padres pitched us backwards and we let them get away with it.

    1. You nailed it for me. A Rangers fan here and I see it as a problem throughout baseball. Little League all the way up.

  11. Cey nailed it. The fans saw it. Cey saw it. Even some of the announcers saw it. The only ones who are apparently in the dark are FO folks who are out there beating the bushes for more guys hitting below the Mendoza line. Just can’t get enough of those under .200 hitters! If the winter continues along these lines the Dodgers will be chasing the Giants for third place next year. Forget the playoffs. Freidman’s style is doing nothing slowly.

  12. As the former owner of the Dodgers once said and I quote “Luck is the residue of design:” per Branch Rickey. So you can’t rest of your laurels after winning 111 games and have thoughts in your head that this should be easy now to win it all.

  13. Cey is exactly right, too many 200 and below hitters. I have been a Dodger fan since they moved to L.A. in 1958 and I saw them in the L.A. Coliseum. Having been a college player and a high school coach for 43 years I feel like I know just a little about the game. There is way to much emphasis on swing angles, launch speed, etc. and not enough on situational strategy. 30 years ago if you tried to run a shift the batter would go the other way or lay a bunt down and walk to 1st base. Wouldn’t Pete Rose, Tony Gwinn, Rod Carew and countless others have loved to bat against the shift. Now everyone is swinging for the fence and the strikeout rates are through the roof. No bunts for base hits even though the 3rd basemen now play 15′ behind the bag and no sacrifice bunts and moving runners over. The Dodgers had one of the worst records in extra inning games because unlike most other teams that I watched they would not bunt the runner over to 3rd where a base hit or a Sac fly would get the run in. IT’S TIME FOR DAVE ROBERTS TO DRIVE THE TRAIN!! He has been a passenger along for the ride for long enough. In his 1st season he ran a suicide squeeze that if I remember correctly won the game for us. I haven’t seen one since, we would rather give a couple of 200 or less hitters a chance to strike out. I just want to see some real managing on offense and not just someone to go out and make the pitching change!!! Also I am excited about getting to see the young players come up and get their chance, think about this all superstars had to be given a chance somewhere along the way or they wouldn’t have become superstars.

  14. dodgers need to get over the idea that the starting pitcher can’t go through the lineup for a third time. Pulling Anderson was the wrong move. They did the same thing a few years back with Rich Hill… overuse of analytics creates paralysis by analysis….

  15. Changes need to be made. Friedman and Roberts ways & message are old & worn out with the team. Need to keep the really good every day players, not just for 1 or 1 1/2 years & then let them leave. Constantly counting on rebound year from older & injured players. Billion dollar club operating on a dime.

  16. Roberts is a major source of the problem. Period. Every year, even the year we won, I have been able to accurately identify multiple mistakes he has made when managing our team in the playoffs. Why am I, the average fan, able to make better in-game decisions then the manager of the team?
    The Dodgers have too much Hollywood in their blood, in the way that they try to script everything, and they base that script off analytics. So when we are in a crucial moment of a crucial game and an adjustment to the script needs to be made, we fail because we aren’t present in the moment.
    It also seemed apparent to me that this year in particular, we chose to stay passive at the trade deadline in order to prepare for our future plans. This part I am okay with actually. The only thing we had pressing us to push in last year was having Trea for that final year. Other then that, the future looks very bright! So be patient, the fruits will come. We have more ammunition then any team, by way of money and prospects, to build a juggernaut that will last many years.

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