The 111 win regular season Dodgers were nowhere to be found in the postseason. Facing the Padres in the NLDS — a team they had beat in 14 of 19 battles throughout the season — LA went 1-2 and was bounced in the first round of the playoffs.
Hardly the script that was written when Dave Roberts declared that the Dodgers would be crowned as World Series champions in an interview before the season. Then, he offered the caveat that his team would win it all if the pitching staff stayed healthy. By October, it was the healthiest it had been nearly all season. Save for Walker Buehler, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, the team had the personnel Doc said they needed.
So, what happened?
The bats didn’t show up. The timely hits were hard to come by, if they ever came at all. And the San Diego Padres capitalized on every opportunity they could.
Dodgers Lose NLDS to Padres, What Needs to Change for Dodgers, Why LA Collapsed in the Postseason
Following the stunning game four loss, a somber Clayton Kershaw shared his thoughts on the series and the rival to the south that was moving on to the National League Championship Series for the first time in nearly 25 years.
You got to give a lot of credit to these Padres. They had a lot of great at-bats the whole series and made big pitches when they had to. They played better than us. It’s hard to admit sometimes but that’s the honest truth of it. They just beat us.
The Padres have been piecing together a roster almost specifically assembled to beat the Dodgers. During the season, it looked like everything they had done wasn’t going to be enough. Again, LA had won 14 of 19 meetings, including 6 of 9 after the Friars acquired Juan Soto at the trade deadline.
But they got hot at the right time as the Dodgers got cold and that’s just how baseball works sometimes. There are plenty of moments fans can look back at and excuses that could be made as the team headed into the series. But Kershaw hit the nail on the head. The Padres played better than the Dodgers.